HomeNews1Justin Trudeau Tells Cabinet He’s Sticking Around As Leader For The Next Election

Justin Trudeau Tells Cabinet He’s Sticking Around As Leader For The Next Election

Justin Trudeau Tells Cabinet He’s Sticking Around As Leader For The Next Election

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told his federal Liberal cabinet Wednesday that he is staying on to fight in the next election, the Star has learned.

Trudeau addressed speculation about his political future behind closed doors at a cabinet retreat in Vancouver, according to several sources with knowledge of the discussion.

Just ahead of the meeting in which the Liberal leader declared he’s sticking around, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, a long-rumoured aspirant for the Liberal leadership, tried to dismiss a journalist’s question about a news report she is considering leaving politics and may be angling for an international position, possibly as NATO secretary general.

“So I have a really big job already,” Freeland told reporters. “In fact, I have two big jobs as finance minister and deputy prime minister of Canada. And I am really, really focused on those and on working hard with the prime minister, with my cabinet colleagues, with Canadians to get through a challenging economic time in the world, and to really capitalize on what I believe are the tremendous opportunities ahead of our country.”

Freeland didn’t definitively say “no” on whether she was interested in any other jobs. However, the NATO secretary general position is now held by Jens Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, and his current term has been extended to the end of September 2023.

Two sources said Trudeau’s declaration to his cabinet members came in the context of framing the coming months as a time when Canadians are facing troubled times in the face of economic and global headwinds, and urging them to work hard.

He said he believes the Liberals’ plans will lead to prosperity beyond the immediate challenges, and that he was energized by the issues ahead. He made clear he also believes those plans are key to the next election win — a win he intends to lead the party to.

Trudeau’s statement will likely set in train deeper reflection among other would-be leadership candidates about where their futures lie, among those Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Defence Minister Anita Anand, and others.

The prime minister’s future had been the topic of political guesswork in Ottawa since last fall when he led the Liberals to a third federal election victory but a second minority government with a steadily declining share of the popular vote, with even those in his cabinet wondering if he would stick around.

Some have been slowly feeling out support for any future race, while others once thought to be interested — Joly or Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen — have privately confided to associates they have decided not to pursue any leadership ambitions. Joly has publicly talked about her desire to have a family.

But as ministers met to prepare the government’s agenda for the fall and discussed how to confront a resurgent Conservative party set to select a new leader this weekend, Trudeau made clear his intention is to continue to govern, not set in motion a Liberal leadership race before 2025 when a deal with the NDP to ensure stability in the minority parliament will expire. His government is expected to start making good on some of the promised elements in that deal, such as dental care for young people, and more housing assistance, in the days ahead.

Trudeau told reporters Tuesday in Vancouver his government’s focus “is on the economy” and not on whether Pierre Poilievre will be his opponent, as the candidate expected to take over the job of Conservative leader.

“We are at a time in an era where we’re facing many, many different challenges and Canadians need a government that is focused on them. And that’s exactly what we are doing,” Trudeau said.

This article was first reported by The Star