Catherine McKenna calls on Trudeau to step down: 'Time for new ideas'

'The prime minister has a legacy to be proud of, but it's time for new ideas, new energy and a new leader. There's too much at stake in this election, especially on the economy and climate,' she said.

Catherine McKenna calls on Trudeau to step down: 'Time for new ideas'
The Canadian Press / Cole Burston
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Former Liberal minister Catherine McKenna has joined in the growing choir of voices calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step down. 

McKenna's comments come after two Chretien-era Liberals called for the prime minister to step down and reports that current parliamentarians believe the party is now seen as being "too woke."

McKenna told CBC News that the party isn't "about one person" and that the Liberals should focus on "improving the lives of Canadians."

"The prime minister has a legacy to be proud of, but it's time for new ideas, new energy and a new leader. There's too much at stake in this election, especially on the economy and climate."

McKenna is the first person who has served in Trudeau's cabinet to call for a change in leadership.

Another former Liberal, Wayne Easter, who served as a Liberal MP from 2000 to 2021, told The Globe and Mail in a recent interview that Trudeau and his team would need to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks.

"There comes a time when you've got to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. And my suggestion would be, it's time to fold 'em," Easter, who served as solicitor general in Jean Chretien's government.

The loss of a riding in the middle of Toronto suggests that the Liberals have more to lose if they continue with Trudeau as leader going forward.

While Chrystia Freeland has publicly stated since the loss that she trusts Trudeau to lead in the coming election, Easter argues that it's Trudeau who is the problem.

“The negative focal point against the government of Canada right now, like it or not, is the Prime Minister,” he said. “This goes beyond the by-election. The by-election is a byproduct of the mood.”

John Manley, another Chretien-era cabinet minister, said in an interview on Wednesday that the results show that the Liberals need to take action.

“My view is that he can’t win the next election. And I think for his benefit, and for the party’s, he should really take a close look at turning the leadership over sooner rather than leaving it too late,” Manley said.

Easter and Manley both said that they believe the party has drifted too far to the left. “I know there are a lot of traditional Liberal supporters that comment to me that they didn’t think they were voting for an NDP government,” Manely said.

A report from the Toronto Star on Friday said that some Liberal insiders have also started insisting that the party "has veered too far from the political centre" and gained an association with the "woke" left.

"It’s one of the many factors Liberals are pointing at — alongside souring views on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership — to explain how they lost to Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives on Monday, in a riding that has elected Liberals reliably in 10 previous campaigns since 1993," the Star writes.

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