Liberal MPs hold three-day caucus retreat in Ottawa before House of Commons resumes

  • Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Liberal MPs are meeting in Ottawa this week to brainstorm party strategies before the House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also sure to hear more complaints from his caucus as Liberals continue to trail Conservatives by a significant margin in polls.

The Liberal caucus meeting comes after the federal cabinet held a retreat in Montreal to plan out the next few months of government priorities.

That includes preparing for the possibility of another Donald Trump presidency and attempting to slow an influx of foreign students putting pressure on Canada’s housing supply.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc also announced plans to host an auto theft summit in Ottawa in early February.

That’s in response to MPs saying they’ve heard a lot from constituents about stolen vehicles in recent weeks.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada warned last year that auto theft had reached crisis proportions in this country, and keeps getting worse.

Ontario and Quebec are particularly hard hit, with the numbers of vehicles stolen jumping about 50 per cent in both provinces in 2022.

The bureau reports that in the first six months of 2023, Ontario saw another 31 per cent jump in auto thefts, and in Quebec, they increased 17 per cent.

The Liberals go into the winter session still stuck well back from the Conservatives in the polls, after the fall sitting did nothing to turn their ship around.

The last caucus retreat in September delivered a bit of an earful to Trudeau on that subject, with dozens of Liberal MPs staring into the abyss of defeat.

Current polls suggest that an election held today would cut the number of Liberals MPs by as much as half, including two−thirds of their Ontario caucus.

The government was dealt another blow on Tuesday when a Federal Court judge ruled that its use of the Emergencies Act to end the "Freedom Convoy" protests in 2022 was unreasonable.

The government is appealing the decision.

The Liberals began three days of caucus meetings on Wednesday with smaller break−out sessions, including meetings of the women’s caucus, rural caucus and Indigenous caucus.

The regional caucuses are expected to meet Thursday morning before Trudeau addresses all Liberal MPs to kick off a meeting of the full caucus this afternoon.

Another full day of caucus meetings is scheduled for Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press