Former Liberal ministers call on Trudeau to resign after stunning byelection loss in Toronto

'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,' said John Manley, a former cabinet minister under Jean Chrétien.

Former Liberal ministers call on Trudeau to resign after stunning byelection loss in Toronto
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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Two former Liberal ministers are calling on Justin Trudeau to resign after the Liberals lost a byelection this week in their longtime stronghold of Toronto-St. Paul's.

After holding the seat for over 30 years, the federal Liberals faced a shocking defeat Tuesday morning as Conservative candidate Don Stewart was victorious over Liberal Leslie Church by just 590 votes.

As reported by the Globe and Mail, former Liberal MP and solicitor general Wayne Easter said in an interview after the byelection loss that it's time for the prime minister and his staff to make some difficult decisions.

“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,” he said.

“The negative focal point against the government of Canada right now, like it or not, is the prime minister,” Mr. Easter added. “This goes beyond the byelection. The byelection is a byproduct of the mood.”

John Manley, a former cabinet minister under Jean Chrétien, echoed Mr. Easter's sentiment that it's time for the prime minister to resign.

“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,” said Mr. Manley.

"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,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has pledged her support for Trudeau and says he will lead the party into the next election.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller also declared that he will continue to support Trudeau and that he should not step down. The minister did concede that "I think a lot of us have to step back, give our heads a shake, screw it on a little better," according to the CBC.

Critics of the prime minister both within the Liberal Party and outside it say that Tuesday's byelection defeat is evidence that the Liberals won't be able to remain competitive against the Conservatives with Trudeau at the helm.

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