Trudeau Says Liberals Have a ‘Lot of Work to Do’ After Surprise Toronto–St. Paul’s Byelection Loss

Trudeau Says Liberals Have a ‘Lot of Work to Do’ After Surprise Toronto–St. Paul’s Byelection Loss
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to talk to reporters at the Ukraine peace summit media centre at the Burgenstock Resort in Obburgen, Switzerland on June 16, 2024. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Matthew Horwood
Updated:
0:00

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his party still has a “lot of work to do” following a surprise Conservative victory in the byelection for the Toronto–St. Paul’s riding, which had been a Liberal stronghold for more than three decades.

“This was obviously not the result we wanted, but I want to be clear that I hear people’s concerns and frustrations,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters during a June 25 press conference in B.C.

“These are not easy times and it’s clear that I, and my entire Liberal team, have much more work to do to deliver tangible real progress that Canadians across the country can see and feel.”

The prime minister added that his government would “never stop working and fighting to make sure that people have what they need to get through these tough times.”

According to preliminary results from Elections Canada, Conservative Party candidate Don Stewart beat Liberal candidate Leslie Church by 590 votes. Mr. Stewart received 42.1 percent of the votes compared with 40.5 percent for Ms. Church.

The Liberals had held the seat since 1993, with former cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett having been the MP for the riding since 1997. She won 49.2 percent of the vote in 2021, compared with 25.3 percent for the Conservative Party candidate.

Ms. Church, who was previously chief of staff for Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, said voters had sent the party a “clear message, that they want us to re-earn their trust.”
Liberal Party candidate Leslie Church greets supporters at an election night event in Toronto on on June 24, 2024. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)
Liberal Party candidate Leslie Church greets supporters at an election night event in Toronto on on June 24, 2024. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)
Mr. Stewart said his win had sent a “loud and clear message” to Mr. Trudeau, and that he was “beyond humbled for the trust [voters] have put in me.”

Ms. Freeland said while the results were “disappointing,” the Liberal Party continues to support Mr. Trudeau as prime minister.

“Our government is focused on working hard for Canada and Canadians and on delivering results for Canada and Canadians,” she said while speaking to reporters on June 25. “That is what the prime minister is focused on. That is what we are all focused on.”

Greg Loerts, a consultant with BlueSky Strategy Group, told The Epoch Times that the Conservative win in Toronto–St. Paul’s was a “major upset in a riding that hasn’t been held by the Conservatives in 31 years.”

“I think this is something that will have definitely shaken the Liberal caucus to the core,” Mr. Loerts said. “I think everyone was expecting that this was going to be a much tighter win for the Liberals than it had been in years past, maybe even single digits, but no one on the Conservative side, no one on the Liberal side was really expecting this to go to the Conservatives.”