Photo: Christopher Katsarov The Canadian Press According to the most recent Abacus poll, approval of the Trudeau government is declining, with disapproval now reaching the highest level recorded since the Liberals were elected in 2015.
At rock bottom in the polls, the Trudeau government is proposing to “return to [its] roots” this winter. The Prime Minister and his ministers will establish their major action priorities during a retreat in Montreal, from Sunday to Tuesday.
At the heart of the program: efforts to “support the middle class.” Ministers will notably discuss measures to reduce the cost of living, build more housing and improve the health system. Professors, economists and housing experts will also be present.
Cost of living and housing issues were at the forefront of Canadians' concerns in 2023, according to several national polling firms. However, two in three Canadians believe that the federal government is doing a “poor” or “very poor” job in implementing policies aimed at making housing in Canada more affordable, according to a Nanos poll released earlier this year.
Pierre Poilievre's Conservatives now lead the Liberals by 17 points, according to the most recent Abacus poll. At the same time, the same poll also revealed that approval of the Trudeau government is declining, with the disapproval rate now reaching the highest level recorded since the Liberal election in 2015.
In a press release, Prime Minister Trudeau affirms that “the primary objective of this retreat” of the Council of Ministers is to realize the “promise” according to which each generation can aspire to a life better than that of the previous generation.
A return of Donald Trump ?
In the context of the imminent presidential elections, where a possible return of former US President Donald Trump to the White House is being considered, discussions on relations between Canada and the United States will be at the agenda.
Last week, Donald Trump won the Iowa Republican caucus in a landslide, capturing 51 percent of the vote.
Already, the prime minister has said that a possible second Trump presidency “won’t be easy.” Justin Trudeau served as Canadian Prime Minister throughout the former president's first four-year term, during which relations were at times difficult.
“Do they want to be an optimistic state committed to the future ? Or will they choose a throwback, nostalgia for a time that never existed, a populism that reflects a lot of anxiety and the fury that people are experiencing without necessarily proposing solutions ?,” Mr. Trudeau said during a discussion at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal earlier this week.
“We are seeing a democratic shift, a decline in democratic values across the world and at many levels,” he added.
Housing and immigration
The retirement of the Trudeau cabinet also comes at a time when the government is linking the housing crisis to temporary immigration.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister said that capacity problems in terms of housing and services are attributable to the approximately 2 million temporary residents in Canada, “especially international students and temporary workers.”
He invited higher education institutions and businesses to find housing solutions for these temporary residents. Same thing for industries claiming to have a significant need for temporary workers.
The cost of living and the housing crisis were also the “number one priority” of the last Cabinet retreat, in Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, last summer.
At the end of this retreat, the Prime Minister promised to make life accessible to young people affected by the rise in housing prices, without however announcing concrete measures.
All federal parties will hold caucus meetings before Parliament resumes on January 29.