The clash: Can Trudeau recapture the magic of 2015?

The path ahead for the Liberals is a long one. It will be an uphill battle on most fronts. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X. 

Should he stay or should he go? That is the question that many are asking about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of the next election. Despite the rumors and much speculation, Trudeau has been clear about his intentions to fight the next election, whenever that might be, against Pierre Poilievre and his Conservative Party.

As Parliament is set to rise this week for the summer, Trudeau has a chance to use the break to reset his agenda and gear up for the next election. If Parliament goes the distance and makes it to 2025, which it looks like it will, this will be the last full summer before all the parties are in full-out campaign mode.

Next week will be a key moment in deciding the fate of Trudeau. The by-election in Toronto St. Paul’s, traditionally a Liberal stronghold, will be the final test for Trudeau.

If Trudeau can win the by-election, keep the seat, and fend off the Conservatives, he will be able to not only gain some confidence, but also put the rumors of his leadership aside. In a sense, it would be a vote of confidence for him and his government. However, if he loses, which given the current polling data is unlikely, his summer will be spent trying to shake things up and regain his footing.

No matter the results, the reality is that the Liberals need to use the summer to refine their message and focus on issues that matter to Canadians. A recent survey from Nanos Research found that Canadians are most concerned about affordability. This is not new; since 2019, Canadians have been trying to get ahead and have been worried about the economic conditions they found themselves in.

Along with affordability, Canadians are concerned about jobs, housing and healthcare, resulting in the environment slipping out of the top issues for the first time in recent memory. Since coming to power, the Liberals have made the environment a keystone of their government. For the longest time, the government’s favorite talking point was “the economy and environment go hand in hand.” Not to mention the Liberals have successfully used the environment, mainly by putting a price on carbon, as a wedge issue in the last two elections to their benefit. Now it seems like the tides are changing, and Canadians are more concerned about their future than that of Mother Earth. 

The key for Trudeau this summer is to refine his message and look to reconnect with Canadians. He should focus on the issues that Canadians are struggling with most and highlight how his government is taking action to make life affordable. He should look to unite Canada and not divide it further. He needs to embrace the Trudeau of 2015, the one that put the Liberals back on the map, captivated voters, and brought hope to the office, not fear or doubt.

The path ahead for the Liberals is a long one, and will be an uphill battle on most fronts, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Trudeau is the one to decide how deep to dig. 

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