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Toronto byelection mirrors choice for voters in next federal vote: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the choice facing voters in a Toronto federal byelection will “mirror” the one they will face in the next federal election.

Toronto-St. Paul’s has long been considered a Liberal stronghold, but the vote scheduled for next Monday is shaping up to be more competitive, and as national-level polling suggests, voters across the country are eager for change.

Trudeau was asked Thursday whether he considers the byelection a test of his leadership.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau’s popularity plummeting ‘close to rock bottom’: poll'

Trudeau’s popularity plummeting ‘close to rock bottom’: poll

“There’s a real choice that people will make in St. Paul’s, which will mirror the choice people will have to make next year in the federal election,” he said, speaking in French.

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The general election must be called by October 2025.

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But Ipsos polling done exclusively for Global News show if an election were held tomorrow, Conservatives would secure 42 per cent of the decided vote.

Toronto-St. Paul’s has remained red for nearly three decades. Longtime Liberal staffer Leslie Church is running to replace former MP Carolyn Bennet, who held the seat for 26 years.

The Conservatives have nominated financial professional Don Stewart as their candidate.

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If a riding that has stayed red for 30 years switches blue, Trudeau could face pressure from within his own party, ahead of the general election.

Ipsos says Trudeau’s waning popularity appears to be “dragging” the Liberals’ fortunes down.

A majority of voters (68 per cent) want him to step down, with Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker describing the numbers as “close to rock bottom,” while Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is gaining ground.

But Trudeau criticized his political opponent Thursday, during an announcement on the national school food program in Central Nova, N.S.

The prime minister said Poilievre is on the side of the wealthiest Canadians and did not support policies like dental care and pharmacare.

“Are we a country where we abandon people, especially in hard times,” asked Trudeau in French. “The choice is clear for people in St. Paul’s and across the country,” he added.

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‘Wackonomics’: Poilievre lambastes economy under Trudeau as Canadians are ‘living through hell’

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