The message in Toronto-St. Paul’s loss is ‘loud and clear,’ minister says

Members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet say they’re standing by him despite a stunning byelection defeat this week in what was once considered a reliable  Toronto seat for the Liberals.“We got a message that was loud and clear from Toronto-St. Paul’s, what was considered a quote on quote ‘safe riding,’’ Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Wednesday, who is also a close personal friend of Trudeau’s.

My advice as a close friend would not be given publicly, that’s for sure,” Miller said. “My advice to him as a minister and as a colleague professionally is absolutely to stay on. … I think he’s the best placed to beat Pierre Poilievre.”

But Miller acknowledged the party is facing a “period of introspection.”

“This is a loss, let’s not minimize the loss. I think a lot of us have to take a step back and give our heads a shake.”

Conservative Don Stewart won Monday night’s byelection in the midtown riding beating longtime Liberal staffer Leslie Church and switching the seat to blue from  red for the first time since 1993.

“The Trudeau brand has become a liability to the party, which I don’t think they really saw coming,” said Lori Turnbull, director of the school of public administration at Dalhousie University.Miller is one of several ministers who fanned out across the country Wednesday to make announcements but faced a wave of questions about Trudeau’s political future.

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