'Do you think I could walk away?' Justin Trudeau laughs off suggestions he’ll take a 'walk in the snow'

‘When my dad was my age, he still had 12 years of prime ministering ahead of him,’ Trudeau said

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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed suggestions that he would be stepping down as Liberal leader anytime soon, as his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau did nearly 40 years ago during his now famous “walk in the snow.”

The subject came up during his hour-long annual holiday chat with his friend, former radio host Terry DiMonte — a tradition that Trudeau has held long before he entered politics and that DiMonte noted is “not a hard-hitting journalist interview” but rather a friendly discussion.

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Despite the Liberals being several points behind the Conservatives in the polls, Trudeau has repeatedly insisted that he will be running in the next election in an attempt to win a fourth term – something that has not been achieved since Wilfrid Laurier.

“You have a lot of fight in you,” said DiMonte. “You’re not going anywhere, are you?”

That’s when Trudeau became more animated and started mimicking commentators predicting that he would follow his father’s footsteps. “You know, everyone talking about, ‘Oh, maybe it’s the walk in the snow this coming week’ … it’s like, Jesus Christ! Come on.”

“What a pain in the ass that thing turned out to be for you, eh?” said DiMonte.

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The subject came up again last November when Sen. Percy Downe, who served as former prime minister Jean Chretien’s chief of staff, called on Trudeau to step down before the next election, and that his decision should come ideally before the end of February 2024.

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That month would be the 40th anniversary of when Pierre Elliott Trudeau went for his “walk in the snow,” in which he decided he would not run again for prime minister in February 1984.

“When my dad was my age, he still had 12 years of prime ministering ahead of him,” Trudeau told DiMonte. Pierre Elliott Trudeau was 64 years old when he announced his resignation in 1984, whereas Justin Trudeau will be turning 52 on Christmas Day, which is his birthday.

Trudeau also said that now is not the time to back away from major challenges in Canada.

“We’re at a moment right now where everything’s changing and everything is challenging, and the intersection of climate change and economic slowdown and inflation and supply chain disruptions and shifted geopolitics around China and Russia and wars and all these things.”

“It really, really matters that we get this right,” he added, before talking to DiMonte on a more personal tone. “You know me well enough, you know what I believe … do you actually think I could walk away from this fight right now?”

Trudeau dismissed suggestions that his government has been beset by world events in recent years, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and now in Israel, and touted his government’s record on reconciliation, inclusion, diversity and fighting climate change.

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He portrayed the alternative — Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives — as a regressive government that would go back several decades in terms of social and economic developments.

“Bring us back to ‘drill, baby, drill,’ ignore climate change, bring us back to father is the head of the household, women don’t get abortions unless they have a note from their husband … it’s that kind of thinking that is really putting at threat everything we’ve been able as a country to build over the past years.”

DiMonte chuckled and said that “there’s a little campaign in the air.”

Liberals have recently been attempting to redefine Poilievre’s Conservatives in an effort to build back some support after trailing in the national polls for over a year now. On Tuesday, two Liberal MPs went on the offensive, accusing Poilievre of having “no plan” for Canada.

The Canadian Press also reported that Liberals have been running attack ads against the Conservatives in more than a dozen ridings that have large Ukrainian populations by highlighting that they voted against a bill to implement a modernized Canada-Ukraine trade deal.

Conservatives said they voted against it because it mentions carbon pricing, which is a requirement for Ukraine to join the European Union.

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