What to expect from the Liberal cabinet retreat | Power Play with Todd van der Heyden


The Prime Minister Gathering top team members in Montreal starting on Sunday for a cabinet meeting to outline the year ahead and we’re already getting some of the details about what to expect team Trudeau will hear from experts on key challenges that the government is facing a housing crisis an affordability

Crisis and Canada US relations amid an election year in the United States and of course the soundtrack playing in the background here terrible polling numbers for Trudeau himself and his government let’s bring in our front bench on this Friday to dig into it all Sabrina Grover was a federal liberal candidate in the

2021 election she’s now principal at Shakti strategies next up Melanie parade was the communications director for former conservative leader Erin oul nowadays she’s the president of texture Communications let’s bring him in gatan Singh former Ontario NDP mppp nowadays vice president Crest View strategy also the brother of federal NDP leader jug

Meing and in Ottawa our very own senior digital parliamentary reporter right here at CTV News there she is Rachel iello all right let me start with you Melanie parade and this focus on housing and affordability issues that have dominated the political debate over certainly the last year or so and

Whether you think the Liberals still have Runway to try and sway voters when it comes to their management or as some would say mismanagement of those files well the one thing we know that the that the Liberals won’t be talking about at their cabinet Retreat next week

Is who’s going to replace Justin Trudeau to run in the next election that’s really what the topic of conversation should be but it won’t instead they’re going to be talking about how to how to run on frankly a strategy that is never good in politics which is depending on

Third party organizations or things that are completely outside of your control like in this case the Bank of Canada to reduce interest rates so that the economy gets back to a place where the average Canadian is feeling less pain and might be open to voting liberal again that’s that’s the the strategy in

A nutshell and it’s just not going to work for them and so I hope that as they preparing for a budget in likely in March that this next cabinet meeting that they have that they’re coming up with way better ideas and ideally figuring out who among them is going to

Replace Trudeau Gaton saying to you and and how you think they try and change the narrative on this that they are you’ve heard it before out of touch out of steam out of new ideas I think it’s also Beyond ideas like when you’re in a crisis it’s you

Don’t just keep on you know it seems like every single week after week when you hold this segments or when the subject comes up it’s like oh they’ve hold this it was you know during their summer Retreat and then during their fall Retreat or during you know whatever

Cabinet uh meetings are held and it just it seems like they’re always just presenting possible ideas instead of actually bringing the action that’s going to bring the necessary change to help people who are in a really desperate situation when people cannot afford to have a roof over the head they

Can’t afford to put food on the table they look at how their lifestyle has changed after eight years of Justin Trudeau and they realized that it has not been for the better and uh for the liberal government to continually just always be proposing uh I think is problematic they need to actually bring

Forth the change that will result in more more affordable homes and more affordable groceries to you Rachel lello and you know gradon raises a good point there’s a summer Retreat there’s a fall Retreat now we have a winter retreat in Montreal cabinet meetings going on whether you think Canadians are paying

Attention to it all what’s at stake for the government here what do you think I think what’s at stake for the government is hitting the ground running heading into this 2024 parliamentary season the stakes are incredibly high for the Liberals because of the narrative you alluded to Todd about

Their polling numbers and whether they are out of steam I think this is going to be a crucial first step for them to show that they have new ideas that they are heading into the House of Commons returning with tangible changeable policies that they are going to execute

On to do more than just talking about Canadians economic wos Canadians affordability issues Canadians concerns about Security International Affairs they’re really going to have to avoid what happened in Charlotte Town during their last uh cabinet meeting where they came out of it without really anything concrete tangible big announcements I

Think we’ll be looking to see if they’re able to hit a message Target and hit that ground running showing that they took the time over the holidays to get re-energized and come back ready to show why they want to run again in 2025 to Sabrina and Calgary you’re the liberal

With us here so don’t we already know what the priorities are I mean don’t we know that there’s a housing crisis and an affordability crisis we need to get more shovels in the ground more housing has to be built we’ve got to bring more uh relief for Canadians who are

Struggling to pay their bills uh your read on this cabinet meeting in Montreal and what you’re hoping to see I think that the Liberals really need to come out of this C cabinet Retreat being laser focused um I think that over the last couple of months

We’ve seen them try to kind of hone in their messaging I think it’s worked with some success but I think that out of this retreat they not they need to take pick like three priorities um and in my opinion I think that Healthcare has to be one of those priorities Healthcare is

Cracking in Ontario and Quebec and other provinces aren’t far behind um they need to think about how their uh budget priorities are going to align with those three priorities so when we talk about imig when we talk about housing when we talk about healthare what are going to

Be the budget allocations for that and how is that going to play out regionally and I think that they need to really think about the voters that they’re going after right so there was polling that came out uh only like a week ago or two weeks ago that shows that they’re

Losing women um that they’re losing L young people and so what is the way that they can frame those issues for those voters in particular in order to get them back I think in particular they have to get into campaign mode um you know it’s not just just about selling

Kind of this government agenda and these government policies but they need to start drawing the contrast with the conservatives and showing exactly where the conservatives would cut and as you lead into budget I think that’s really important for them yeah back to you gadon and you know inflation still high

No Bank of Canada rate Cuts coming anytime soon like it or not people do blame the government in power for a lot of that we’re also talking about the issue of immigration we were touching on it at the beginning of the show today students coming in from other countries

Do you think canadi are starting to rethink this massive influx of newcomers and some of the consequences a mid word that maybe the government will start to cut back on the number of student uh permits to come to Canada well like I said uh in our you

Know earlier segment last week when we discussed this subject as well I’m very worried about uh International students new Canadians in general like this when you start uh blaming one segment of society or of those who live in Canada for the sole cause of potential woes I

Think it it’s it does set a dangerous precedent and I think beyond that are these institutions are in general our social support systems be it Healthcare be it housing be it otherwise they’re crumbling because of lack of investment and I think we need to look at it more

Holistically and say how do we build a robust Society how do we build a robust uh country and when people are in Desperate situations that’s when they begin to blame or otherise marginalized community and I’m always very nervous about that but to the earlier Point as

Well to what the Liberals need to do at this at this time it’s when I look at policies that they end to be fought for like Dental Care Dental Care is now uh it’s starting to roll out and and by the end of the Mandate we’re going to see

Millions of people having access to dental care that’s going to be a tangible difference in people’s lives that’s impacts affordability impacts healthare impacts a variety of indicators of socioeconomic and physical health uh so when we look at housing the government needs to start thinking about what policies can they Implement now to

Make people’s lives better now and when they keep on just proposing idea after idea I think people either stop paying attention stop caring because until the standard of their life increases it has no real bearing upon their life uh to Melanie par that’s the real danger here that people stop paying attention and

Stop caring as gatan is saying here do you think the behind closed doors conversations are kind of panic mode now they must be they absolutely must be I I agree with graten that I think that unless there are tangible things that are that are happening to impact people’s lives right away that they’re

They’re just losing the narrative if it takes too long if people are waiting six months a year to see relief it’s just not going to to impact the polling at all it’s not going to impact their opinion of the Liberals and so I think that this cabinet meeting this Retreat

They’re really going to be focusing on what can we do right now in order to have an impact yeah and how much of of the sort of sense out there uh Rachel aelo do you think is kind of percolating into some of those inner conversations that are happening with Team Trudeau you

Know the the the mood out there with Canadian voters they always say you know polls are one thing but we’re focused on governing we know that you know with all due respect that’s not completely true they do look at the polls they’ve got to know I think it is a balancing act for

Them Todd right now of doing like the other panelists have suggested find those immediate action items but also taking some time to consider what the prime minister’s Legacy would be should this be his last run in office they have to be thinking about making sure that they’re cementing some of those more

Long-term commitments those Legacy items that the Liberals came to power in 2015 talking about that still haven’t been fully executed so it’s a two-prong challenge I think for the Liberals heading into this parliamentary sitting it’s uh finding ways and in some ways working with the NDP to cement some of

These uh bigger pieces while also trying to fight off the day-to-day cut and thrust of the heated political conversation and finding elements of announcements they can make to kind of run the agenda and not constantly like it was in the fall seemed like they were responding to calls to act from other

Parties we’ve only got about 30 seconds but back to you Sabrina Grover your read on whether there will be any conversations either with Trudeau in the room or in some of those hallways about whether as Rachel’s pointing out this should be the last time for him that

They need to pick somebody new or do you think that’s uh wishful thinking I don’t think they’re going to focus on that um honestly going into this cabinet Retreat and coming out of it I think they’re really just going to focus on those priorities that they have for

Policy and the ways that they’re going to make um or continue to make life more affordable for Canadians and I think as they should be right um there’s still government they’re still governing and they have to deal with the day-to-day uh realities of what Canadians are facing

And I think that that’s the most important thing um I think they need to get into campaign mode and think about that longer narrative uh but at the end of the day you know thinking about a leadership is just a distraction for them right now

Panellists weigh in on what the Liberal cabinet will prioritize during an upcoming retreat and what new policy ideas could blossom from it.

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  1. The Justin Trudeau cabinet has a closed door meeting in Montreal!
    Will they talk about the Gordian Knot ?
    Will some minister have the courage and determination to talk about the elephant in the room ?

  2. Canadians are no longer paying any attention to this Liberal government. They have figured out this government has created an economic catastrophe and has run out of ideas to remedy the problems. Time for the pendulum to swing back.

  3. A Boston BatWanger would be a choice than Alphabet Boy ! Lets all reflect on this / To fix anything in this country ! They will need to destroy everything in society &&& Rebuild from the Ground Up , Question is ? who's going to SURVIVE , until they DO This ???????

  4. Out of curiosity, who is paying for this "retreat"? Is it taxpayer money? Is it money from the Liberal party of Canada or is it hush hush money these crooks are getting from their buddies?

  5. Well how unique will their strategy be? Blame someone else for their own mistakes maybe deny the mistakes and problems exist add a dash of virtue signalling that's the expected response. Canadians should just study the great depression and serfs in the British Kingdom so they can validate their realities.

  6. Liberal Party blew it with a massive influx of new Canadians and nowhere to put them. Consequently, the housing shortage has hurt everyone in one way or another. Like him or not, Harper was light years ahead of this government.


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