(Al Jazeera Media Network) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rebuffed the idea of stepping down amid slumping poll numbers and the rise of the country’s opposition Conservatives.
During a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, when asked whether he would resign as his party’s leader, Trudeau told reporters he had more work to do.
“The next elections are two years away. I’m continuing to do my job. There’s a lot of important work to do, to deliver for Canadians in these difficult moments. I remain enthusiastic and relentless with regards to this work,” he said, speaking in French.
Trudeau led the Liberal Party to victory in 2015’s federal elections, ending nearly a decade of Conservative-led governments. But he has since seen his support slip amid growing frustrations over high inflation, soaring housing costs, and other issues.
He also bore the brunt of public anger over COVID-19 lockdown measures and other public health policies across Canada, becoming a regular target of anti-COVID-vaccine-mandate protesters and right-wing politicians.
An Abacus Data poll from late August found that 56 percent of Canadians believed Trudeau should step down and let someone else lead the party, compared with 27 percent who said he should run again.
The Angus Reid Institute, another Canadian research firm, put Trudeau’s disapproval rating this month at 63 percent.
The findings come as the right-wing Conservative Party of Canada has seen a jump in support under its new leader Pierre Poilievre, a populist career politician who took over the helm of the party in September of last year.
Abacus Data said last week that a recent national survey showed public perceptions of Poilievre were improving, while the Conservatives had 40 percent support among voters compared with 26 percent for the Liberals.
That is the Conservative Party’s largest lead over the Liberals since the 2015 election, the firm said. “The primary driver, in our view, is the negative impression people have of the Liberal government and Prime Minister Trudeau,” it added.