Newfoundland Liberal MP Ken McDonald now says he is not personally calling for a leadership review of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This comes a day after a media clip of him was posted responding “yes” to a reporter’s question about whether there should be a review.
“I was elected in 2015 as a Liberal M.P. and have continued to serve proudly as a member of the Liberal caucus for 8 years. The intent of my recent public comments was not to personally call for a leadership review, and I am not calling for one now,” McDonald said in an emailed statement.
“As I said, I believe that the Prime Minister is a smart politician, a great campaigner, and I know he still has the best interests of Canadians at heart. I will continue to support my caucus colleagues and the Prime Minister as I’ve done since 2015.”
The email concludes by saying that McDonald will not provide comment further on the issue.
In a story published Wednesday on the CBC News website, McDonald was quoted as saying that the government is getting to be an “old government,” that every party and leader has a “best-before date” and “our best-before date is here.”
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In a video of the interview, McDonald was asked whether he is calling for a leadership review. “So you think at least there should be a leadership review in the Liberal Party?” the reporter asked. “Yes,” he responded. “Let’s clear the air. Let’s, you know, as a party, let’s clear the air, and if people are still intent on having the leader we have now, fine, but at least give people the opportunity to have their say in what they think of the direction the party is going.”
Prior to the Atlantic Liberal caucus meeting on Thursday morning in Ottawa, Housing Minister Sean Fraser was asked about McDonald’s comments and whether Liberal MPs are free to speak freely.
McDonald has previously found himself offside with his caucus colleagues, voting in favour of a Conservative motion to scrap the federal carbon price.
“My sense is people can say whatever they want,” Fraser said. “I don’t know the back and forth that Ken may have had. My sense is that Ken felt the coverage of what he said may not accurately reflect his personal viewpoint.”
When asked about frustrations with the current government that exist among the Canadian population about issues such as the cost-of-living, Fraser defended the government’s record and Trudeau’s leadership.
“My sense is that people are focused on the very real anxieties that they are facing as the result of a changing economy that has seen inflation that’s been higher than they’ve been dealing with,” Fraser said. “People are focused on the challenges that they’re having rather than politicians, but it’s our job to make sure the measures we’re putting in place are speaking to those anxieties.
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