Justin Trudeau is facing an internal party rebellion in Canada amid concerns about the economy and his government’s poor poll ratings.
The prime minister, 51, would face a wipeout if an election was held tomorrow, poll projections show, as he battles persistent inflation and foreign policy crises.
In recent weeks his leadership has been criticised by party grandees, including John Manley, a former Liberal deputy prime minister, and Percy Downe, a senator and former prime minister’s chief of staff.
Despite concerns on his own benches about the government’s performance, Mr Trudeau is seeking a fourth term in office in the next election in 2025 – a feat that only two prime ministers have ever pulled off.
Mr Manley told Bloomberg that Mr Trudeau risked falling foul of the “Seinfeld Rule,” that Canadian politicians struggle to govern for more than nine years, the length of time that the sitcom ran on US television.
A poll last month found that 57 per cent of Canadians, including 44 per cent of Liberal voters, think that the prime minister should stand down and call an internal leadership contest before the next election.
The Liberal Party’s challengers, the Conservatives, are ahead in the polls under the leadership of Pierre Poilievre, who has described high prices in Canada as the result of “Justinflation”.
Although inflation has come down from its peak of 8.1 per cent, housing costs have risen significantly during Mr Trudeau’s tenure.
He also faces resistance to both carbon taxes, which are unpopular with the Canadian Right, and his decision to scrap them for household heating oil – a decision condemned by the environmental Left.
Although no Liberal politician has yet challenged Mr Trudeau, there is media speculation that Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England, could emerge as a contender if Mr Trudeau’s poll ratings do not improve.
Mélanie Joly, the foreign minister, and Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister, are also thought to be considering bids.
Mr Trudeau has said he has no intention of resigning and will lead his party into the next election.
But Mr Downe, a senator who served former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien, said that only Mr Trudeau’s resignation would allow the Liberal Party to beat Mr Poilievre in 2025.
“The prudent course of action is for another Liberal leader to rise from the impressive Liberal caucus and safeguard those policies he was actually able to accomplish, like the Canada Child Benefit,” he wrote last month.
“If the next Liberal leader is able to bring the party back to the centre of the political spectrum, the party has a chance of being re-elected.”