Liberal MP wants Trudeau to face a leadership review

Liberal MP Ken McDonald urged the party to permit free expression from members and allow potential leadership candidates to come forward. He has repeatedly ignored calls from high-ranking Liberals and PMO staff to tow the party line.

Liberal MP wants Trudeau to face a leadership review
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Liberal MP Ken McDonald refuses to tow the party line, making it clear that it's time to consider a leadership review of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"As a party, let's clear the air," he told Radio-Canada, "and if people are still intent on having the leader we have now, fine."

However, the three-term Newfoundland MP, who serves primarily a rural riding, called for people to have "their say in what they think the direction the party is going."

The incumbent MP previously broke rank with the government to support a failed motion to scrap the carbon tax, amid costs spiralling out of control for his constituents.

"I told him exactly as it is," he said. "We're punishing the rural areas of our country and the most vulnerable people in our society."

McDonald contends rural voters should be exempt from the carbon tax, citing few transportation alternatives beyond their own vehicles.

"With the population of Newfoundland, I don't think we need to change behaviours," he said, "because we don't have a population big enough or condensed enough to cause an issue for climate change."

"We're not the problem," he added. "It's the densely populated areas that are the problem." 

On April 1, Ottawa will expand the carbon tax to $80 per tonne, with successive $15 increases planned until 2030, when it reaches $170 per tonne.

Despite a three-year suspension on taxing home heating oils in Atlantic Canada, one Leger survey said 55% of Canadians either want the carbon tax reduced (18%) or abolished (37%) altogether.

McDonald said the exemption alone won’t improve the prime minister's image in his region.

"I think Atlantic Canada is much the same as the rest of the country," he said. "There's almost a hatred out there right now for Prime Minister Trudeau," he added.

Over two-thirds (68%) of Canadians said they are not willing to pay higher taxes to support Parliament’s push to achieve ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.

According to an Ipsos poll conducted for the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), two in three Canadians believe they pay too much income tax, with fewer than one in four thinking the feds are fiscally prudent.

Another poll pegged Trudeau as the 'worst prime minister' in the past half-century.

Although McDonald stopped short of demanding Trudeau resign, he urged the Liberal Party of Canada to permit free expression from party members and allow potential leadership candidates to come forward.

"People are maybe thinking it's time for a change," he said. "Every leader, every party has a best-before date. Our best-before date is here."

The MP told Radio-Canada he received calls to fall in line last autumn from Liberal ministers and staff with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). "The pressure was intense, but I was determined to do it because I knew the people in my riding wanted me to go that way," he said.

While McDonald has not decided whether to seek re-election, his intent remains on staying in the Liberal caucus despite offers to cross the floor.

However, he expects the next federal election to be "one of the most difficult elections we've had … in a long time." 

Abacus Data is polling the Conservatives at a 12-point lead in Eastern Canada. McDonald acknowledged the Liberals are likely to lose seats in Newfoundland next election.

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