Anthony Furey: What to Note From Trudeau’s Response to Reporters’ Questions on Whether He'll Resign

Anthony Furey: What to Note From Trudeau’s Response to Reporters’ Questions on Whether He'll Resign
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at the construction site of an affordable housing project in London, Ont., on Sept. 13, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Nicole Osborne)
Anthony Furey
The narrative on the Canadian federal political scene has quickly shifted. There’s a question that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now being publicly asked that no politician wants to face. It’s a question that’s going to be echoed all across social media and on television and radio discussion panels. It’s one he will no doubt face again in front of the cameras. 
The question is whether Trudeau is going to resign.
On Sept. 13, the PM was joined by other cabinet ministers to give a press conference at a construction site where they revealed more details of their Housing Accelerator Fund, which was announced earlier this year. 
The housing file—and the exorbitant cost of homes across the country—has been one of the topics Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has been relentlessly hammering Trudeau on. And the polls show Poilievre has a winner on this issue.
The numbers also show Poilievre is proving a winner in general, as public support for him continues to climb.
For example, a recent Abacus Data opinion survey shows that the Conservatives have surged ahead in British Columbia to score a staggering 52 percent support. The Liberals aren’t even in second place. They’re third, with 18 percent support. That’s behind 22 percent support for the NDP. According to analysts, this would see Poilievre win 90 percent of the federal ridings in B.C. and see NDP leader Jagmeet Singh lose his seat.
An election is likely two years away so this is just a snapshot in time. But what it shows is that Poilievre is currently on the path to a massive victory the likes of which we haven’t seen in Canadian politics in quite some time.
It’s therefore only natural that whatever grumbling Liberals have been doing about Trudeau behind the scenes is now emerging to the forefront. It appears that more and more Liberal MPs are hearing from their constituents that they’re unhappy with the prime minister. 
These MPs probably want to keep their jobs, and they see the polling numbers. So now the talk is moving to whether pushing out Trudeau in advance of the next election and replacing him with a new leader will keep them afloat.
This was reflected in the Sept. 13 press conference, where multiple reporters asked Trudeau about the grumblings from within his own caucus, whether or not he’d consider stepping down, and under what conditions he’d bow out.
It was quite something. More than one reporter asked about it. They weren’t sheepish about it either. They asked him head on. 
This is clearly a new theme. It’s not a one-off and surely not the last time Trudeau will be asked about it.
The PM never directly answered the questions. Here are some snippets of what he did say though (his answers were in French):
“We’re two years away from the next election. I will continue to do my work, there’s still a lot of important work to do to deliver to Canadians during these difficult times.”
“I’ve had endless discussions with caucus members over the months throughout the summer, and we spoke frankly about the challenges facing the country and how we will resolve them together.”
What’s interesting is that the typically defiant Trudeau never really pushed back. He didn’t criticize the MPs who were giving anonymous leaks to the press about his failing leadership. Instead he was conciliatory, acknowledging his party has work to do and that he will be listening to his team.
This tells us that the grumblings are more than that. It tells us that MPs are upset and are making it known and that there are a lot of them.
But Trudeau’s a fighter and there’s no indication that he’s planning his departure. There’s also no clear heir waiting in the wings. He’s still the best they’ve got. 
The Sept. 13 announcement was clearly Trudeau trying to win back the housing file from Poilievre. We should expect that whatever issue Poilievre does well on, the Liberals will work to take it back. They want to neutralize his support and bring it down between now and the next election.
None of that changes the fact though that Trudeau is for the first time being asked in public about stepping down. Expect the questions to keep on coming.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.