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Trudeau Tells Liberal MPs to ‘Be Ready For Anything’ Because of Minority Status

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at Willistead Manor in Windsor, Ont., on Jan. 17, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Nicole Osborne)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implicitly told Liberal MPs on Jan. 27 to be ready to campaign in an election due to the minority status of their government, in a speech during the party’s caucus retreat that focused on accomplishments and criticized Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre.

“We need you to keep stepping up in your communities,” Trudeau said.

“You’re all working the ground hard to get yourselves nominated once again, because we’re in a minority Parliament, and we need to be ready for anything.”

This was a different tone then a few weeks ago when he gave a year-end interview to a Quebec TV station.

“No, no, no,” Trudeau told TVA Nouvelles when asked about the possibility of an election in 2023. “There is too much work to do, and we have a deal with the NDP.”

The prime minister raised the prospects of an election at the end of a scripted speech that started with saying there’s an important need to “reaffirm our positive vision.”

Trudeau said Canada and the world are in a “pivotal moment” and that his party must be “ready to meet this moment.”

Poilievre has pressed hard on the affordability crisis in recent months, first going after the price of houses and now the rise of interest rates which affects mortgage payments.

Trudeau gave an example to demonstrate that the supports provided by his government have helped alleviate those pressures.

He said a family in Burlington with a variable mortgage rate is able to absorb the rise in rates due to the federal government helping to reduce child care costs in half.

The federal government struck child care agreements with the provinces, with Ontario coming on board as the last holdout in March 2022.

The prime minister also raised the issue of reconciliation with First Nations, Canada’s support for Ukraine, and the crisis in Haiti.

Canada announced on Jan. 6 it was sending four Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, a collective action with other partners also contributing with similar equipment.

“When the world is more stable, we are all safer and more prosperous, including here at home,” he said.

After providing direction on various topics, Trudeau turned to Poilievre and attacked him on a number of issues, from reconciliation to the environment.

“There are two leaders today that you have to choose between. Are we going to make sure we are working for a positive vision of the future? Or do we incite people to anger without providing constructive and positive solutions?” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said Poilievre has decided to say that everything is “broken” and is not offering concrete solutions.

Poilievre in recent days has made incursions in fields close to Liberal priorities.

He launched consultations with First Nations and proposed they keep more tax revenues from resource projects and he said while visiting Quebec he would “give the green light to green projects.”

“Everything feels broken. Oh! I just offended Justin Trudeau,” Poilievre had told his caucus earlier that day.

“He gets very angry when I talk about these problems. He thinks that if we don’t speak about them out loud that Canadians will forget that they exist.”

The House of Commons will reconvene on Jan. 30 and the Trudeau government is likely to be pressed on a number of hot button issues that surfaced during the holiday break, such as the rise in street crime, the contracts awarded to U.S. multinational consulting firm McKinsey, and the travel chaos over Christmas.

This is on top of other issues that were swirling before the break, such as the Liberals’ proposed amendments to gun control Bill C-21 and foreign interference by the Chinese Communist Party.