Would a Toronto byelection loss spell doom for Trudeau?

This Toronto by election is being watched very closely. The riding has been held by the Liberals for the last 31 years, but polling suggests Justin Trudeau's popularity is low while supporters high for Pierre Poliev's Conservatives. Our political correspondent Glenn McGregor joins us from Ottawa now. So, Glenn, if the Liberals can't hold this seat, what would it mean for Trudeau? Yeah, Justin Trudeau's got a lot to lose here, but really not too much to gain. The seat is kind of meaningless in the overall House of Commons standings. But yes, if the Liberals don't hold on to it and hold on by a decent margin, remember, they won Saint Paul's by something like 24 percentage points in the 2021 election. Or if they lose it outright, it's going to embolden those in the party who think it's time for a leadership change, dumping Justin Trudeau. So far, none of the MPs in the Liberal caucus have publicly called for Trudeau to step down. But if they see the party losing what has been a long time stronghold in downtown Toronto, those MPs are going to start worrying about their own jobs. And on the flip side, if the Liberals win easily, it may quell some of that talk for a little bit, but probably not for that long. And here in Parliament Hill, we get really excited, Cynthia, about by elections and then we kind of forget about them quickly once they're over. Now, they can be symbolic, but what are some of the key issues that could impact today's by election that we could also see in the next key federal election? Pretty much all the stories we've been following in the news over the past year could be factors in Saint Paul's. The cost of living, of course, inflation, housing issues. That's a concern in pretty much every city across the country, but Toronto in particular. And then also particular to Saint Paul's is the war in the Middle East. The riding does have a large number of Jewish voters, about 11% of the population. Some of those voters are probably going to be unhappy with the government's criticism of Israel's response to the Hamas October 7th attacks. Now, of course, candidates do matter in by elections too. The Liberals think they have a strong one in Leslie Church. She's well known here in Ottawa where she worked as an aid to a bunch of cabinet ministers, including Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister and finance minister. That may not resonate, though, in downtown Toronto, Conservatives are running Don Stewart, who has a background in the financial sector on Bay Street, but not a huge profile in the riding either. So lots of guesses about what will happen tonight. We'll see in a few hours, Cynthia, when those results start coming in. And we will be watching very closely tonight, Glenn. And that is our political correspondent, Glenn McGregor in Ottawa. Thank you, Glenn. Thanks, Cynthia.

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