Justin Trudeau Suffers Shock Defeat: 'A Disaster for the Liberals'

Justin Trudeau Suffers Shock Defeat: 'A Disaster for the Liberals'

His name wasn't on the ballot, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is widely seen as the major loser after his Liberal Party suffered a setback in a special election to fill a parliamentary seat.

Since 1993, the Liberals have controlled the Toronto-St. Paul’s seat, but on Monday, Conservative candidate Don Stewart defeated Liberal candidate Leslie Church, who had previously been the chief of staff to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, as reported by Politico.

Former Conservative campaign manager Fred DeLorey referred to the election as “Trudeau’s last stand.”

Philippe Fournier, editor-in-chief of the election projection site 338Canada, commented, “What a disaster for the Liberals.”

Alex Marland, a politics professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, told the BBC that the Liberals should worry that public opinion polls indicating frustration with their party are not just "a blip or an aberration."

Marland noted that the Conservatives, who have historically struggled to win in “Canada’s major urban cores,” had successfully “penetrated fortress Toronto.”

Canada is anticipated to hold national elections in the autumn of 2025.

Canadian historian Robert Bothwell told The Associated Press that “Justin’s position is seriously weakened inside the party.”

Bothwell believes the loss will likely heighten internal dissent over Trudeau's leadership, who has served as prime minister since 2015.

A commentator on X argued the prime minister “needs to resign. He has no excuse anymore but his own pride.”

Bothwell added, “The Liberals poured, and were seen to pour, everything they had into this one. Bringing ministers down and mobilizing office staffs from Ottawa signaled desperation.”

Church acknowledged that voters “sent us a clear message, that they want us to re-earn their trust.”

Nelson Wiseman, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, suggested the issue is more about diminishing affection for the Liberals than an increasing preference for the Conservatives.

Wiseman stated, “The pressure on Trudeau to announce that he will be stepping down is now insurmountable.”

He highlighted that Toronto-St. Paul’s was one of only 40 seats the Liberals retained during their worst performance in 2011, questioning, “If Liberals lost a supposedly safe seat, how can they hope to win a general election?”

Trudeau has taken a philosophical view of the dissatisfaction among Canadians, according to Politico.

“I was talking about this with other leaders at the [Group of Seven summit] and in Switzerland at the peace conference for Ukraine,” the prime minister said. “Everywhere, people are struggling with high inflation, cost of living issues, interest rates, housing challenges, child care challenges — all these things.”

“We are doing better than many countries. [That] doesn’t make a difference to someone who can’t pay for their groceries, but people everywhere are facing a certain amount of frustration,” he said.

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