West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP Patrick Weiler is dismissing last month’s noise about a leadership review as “salacious” material for media to talk about, saying Canadians want the government focused on governing.
“There’s no leadership review, or any organizing, dissent or any of that happening right now,” he said in an interview with Pique when asked about comments from Newfoundland and Labrador MP Ken McDonald on Jan. 24, when he told a CBC journalist he believes the Liberal Party needs to have a leadership review of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Weiler said he was surprised McDonald made the comments, but noted he was known to be an outspoken MP in the past.
“I know he’s retracted what he’s said, and I really want to see the prime minister focused on doing his job, focusing on the issues that really matter to people in our riding and across the country.”
Weiler, who is in Ottawa, said he doesn’t believe a leadership review is part of any discussion within the Liberal Party, but just “a salacious story for the media to pursue. I think that’s probably out of the (media) cycle, but I guess we’ll have to see on that.”
As for the issues on the ground, Weiler said he is hearing a similar song from all his constituents, from one end of the riding to the other: Cost of living.
“There’s a lot of work to do right now, and that’s why I’m really excited to be back in Ottawa and to be focused on dealing with a lot of those issues that I’ve been hearing from folks when I’ve been going door to door over the last little while, and particularly tackling some of the cost-of-living issues that folks are having,” he said.
Asked about successive opinion polling showing the government well behind the opposition in voter support, Weiler said much of the frustration is global—similar to comments he made to Pique the last time he was asked.
“When you have the type of economic pressures you’re having from inflation the entire world is seeing, and high interest rates to combat that… it’s weighing on people around the world and that’s absolutely no different in Canada,” he said.
Whether the Liberal Government’s efforts to combat the rising cost of living and housing unaffordability are cutting through to voters, he said it is hard to say.
“I think you can see that when people are asked about their support for one party or another, when people are going through difficult times like that, they’re often looking for someone to blame, and that person is usually the person at the head of government,” he said.
“That’s why it’s really important that we do what we can to act on this, but of course we can’t just flick a switch for housing to be cheap and plentiful. It’s a result of a lack of federal government investment for 30 years until 2017.”
On that, Weiler was in Squamish in mid-January to announce additional federal funding for housing.
As for cost of living, Weiler said the government is working on cracking down on anti-competitive behaviour to soften cost-of-living pressures through additional changes to the Competition Act atop changes made in December 2023.
“[Housing and cost of living] are the two largest challenges that folks are facing, and the frustrating part is there is no quick solution, but it’s incumbent upon all orders of government to do what they can to help alleviate that, and it’s going to be a really big focus over the coming months,” he said.
Of course, the federal budget is just around the corner—and acts as the primary platform for the federal government to enact change in policy. Weiler said he can’t pre-empt what measures will be in the budget, but noted it will be closely watched.