The Liberal Party Cannot Live With Or Without Justin Trudeau

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on December 16, 2022

When analyzing polls both this year, last year, and the year before, the common trend for the Liberal Party has been its consistent instability with Canadians. As we saw in 2019 and 2021 even when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is put up against relatively weak Conservative leaders like Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole, Trudeau struggles to get Canadians out to vote for the Liberals. 

The Liberals definitely have a strong base of support in the GTA, urban Quebec, and the Maritimes, but they have not had a realistic chance of greatly expanding out of those areas since the 2015 election.

Ever since Pierre Poilievre has taken over as leader of the Conservative Party, the small lead Trudeau’s Liberals have typically had in the polling has become only an occasional lead, with the Conservatives mostly taking small to moderate-sized leads these days. 

Especially in the context of his several major scandals and inability to win a new majority government for two elections in a row, Justin Trudeau is definitely a liability for the Liberals. Canadians maybe don’t hate Trudeau in the way they grew to laoth Brian Mulroney or Kim Campbell, but Trudeau has a ceiling on his popularity these days that makes it hard to thread the needle to a majority government.

His popularity currently sits around in the middle to high 30s, with the occasional 42 percent rating on a particularly good day, and polling shows a large majority of Canadians would like to see a change in government.

So the Liberal Party should put him up for a leadership review and ditch him at the next annual general meeting of the party, right?

Justin Trudeau sitting with Katie Telford on his right. (Photo from CTV News)

Well…although it may be a good idea in theory for the Liberals to find a better leader to face off against Poilievre than Trudeau, the trouble comes when actually trying to find a viable alternative.

Rumours are that Chrystia Freeland really doesn’t want to become prime minister, and frankly is a Trudeau loyalist and would never go for leadership without him explicitly coronating her. Someone like liberal economist Mark Carney seems like a good choice, in theory, but he has never run for politics before and has worked abroad for much of his career which may remind Canadians of Micheal Ignatieff. 

The fundamental problem with replacing Justin Trudeau is that after he came into the party, the cohort of Liberals who helped make him the leader also centralized all power around the leader. On top of that, none of the people who also helped Trudeau rise to the top of the Liberal Party are really viable options either, leaving little chance of a coup from within the palace.

Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra and liberal strategist Katie Telford are not made for the limelight of party leadership, and Trudeau’s personal advisor and former Chief of Staff Gerald Butts is probably one of the most hated political figures in Canada today. 

Gerald Butts sitting with Katie Telford.

Even if a Liberal MP who fancies themselves a bit of a maverick, like Joel Lightbound, tries to wrestle the leadership from Trudeau, they would likely get trounced as so many Liberal MPs owe their positions to Trudeau and his inner circle. Trudeau has also never been above just tossing out caucus members for opposing him or other members of his team.

As an aside, personally, the only person I could see taking a run at the leadership of the Liberal Party and potentially succeeding would be Justice Minister David Lametti, solely based on everything I have heard about him being sociopathic political climber.

David Lametti (Photo from Le Devoir)

Overall, the current Liberal Party acts like a dictatorship. Since 2013 when Trudeau was first elected leader it seems to have systematically rooted out any alternative to Trudeau’s leadership that now the party doesn’t just have a shallow bench of replacements, it effectively has no replacements or at least any person who is dumb enough to identify themselves as a threat.

Pierre Poilieve may manage to be too much for Justin Trudeau to handle in the next federal election, but the Liberal Party cannot live without him while also knowing he may be the reason they will be removed from power in the near future. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

One response to “The Liberal Party Cannot Live With Or Without Justin Trudeau”

  1. True North says:

    Pick Omar!!!