Trudeau says ‘lots of conversations’ ongoing after shock byelection loss

Last week’s stunning byelection loss in a Toronto riding has spurred “lots of conversations” within the Liberal party, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as questions also swirl around his political future.

Since the surprise Conservative win in the riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s — a Liberal stronghold for more than three decades until then — Trudeau said the party has been “engaged in lots of important conversations.”“Let’s be very clear, last week’s byelection loss, not to sugarcoat it, was challenging, was something that we need to take seriously,” he told reporters in Montreal, Que., where he made a community infrastructure announcement.“We’ve been engaged in lots of important conversations,” Trudeau said.“I’ve had lots of calls with different members of caucus, from across the country, not just in the GTA, to talk about how we make sure we’re continuing our work connecting with Canadians to make sure we’re continuing to deliver for people.”

Trudeau’s comments on Wednesday come as some Liberal MPs and a former cabinet minister in recent days have called for him to resign in the wake of the byelection upset.“These are the things that we need to continue to focus on as Canadians are facing challenging times right now and we will continue to do that,” the prime minister said.

Last week, backbench MP Wayne Long said it was time for the Liberal party to find a new leader.Long said in an email to the party caucus, obtained by Media, that “new leadership” was needed.“For the future of our party and for the good of our country we need new leadership and a new direction,” Long wrote. “The voters have spoken loud and clear they want change. I agree.”

Ken McDonald, a Liberal MP from Newfoundland and Labrador, in a separate reply to Long’s message appeared to echo his comments, simply saying “well said.”

Those sentiments were shared Friday by Catherine McKenna, a former Liberal MP and environment minister who served under Trudeau’s leadership.Within the caucus, Trudeau said that “the conversations that we’re all having as Liberals are going to continue.”“There are, as always, a range of perspectives and voices within the Liberal Party and listening to all those voices and giving them all time to engage is really, really important,” Trudeau said.

When asked by reporters if he will hold an urgent national in-person caucus meeting, Trudeau replied: “I will continue to engage and to talk and to listen, to meet with all my MPs from across the country to talk about how we can both understand what we need to improve on, given last week’s byelection defeat, but also how we continue to be there for Canadians in a really important moment.”

Support for Trudeau and his party is low among Canadians, recent polling shows.

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