Liberal backbencher calls for Trudeau to resign in email to caucus

Liberal backbencher Wayne Long has sent an email to caucus calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resign as party leader after the party lost a Toronto-area riding that's been solidly Liberal for decades earlier this week.

The New Brunswick MP is the first Liberal caucus member to openly call for Trudeau's resignation since Tuesday's byelection upset in Toronto-St. Paul's.

"For the future of our party and for the good of our country, we need new leadership and a new direction," Long wrote in an email obtained by CBC News.

"The voters have spoken loud and clear they want change. I agree."

The Saint John-Rothesay MP, who has spoken out against his government in the past, is not re-offering in the next election.

Newfoundland and Labrador MP Ken McDonald responded to the email with, "Well said!"

He later told CBC News he liked how Long articulated himself but isn't calling for Trudeau to resign.

The Avalon MP, who has voted against his own party twice on the carbon tax, said it's the prime minister's decision to make alone, but stressed the need for an urgent, in-person caucus meeting with Trudeau.

According to sources who have seen the email chain, Kingston MP Mark Gerretsen asked members to stop hitting reply-all.

Photos of Conservative Candidate Don Stewart in Toronto St. Paul's Federal By Election. Shortly before 2230 on Election Evening, Mr Stewart came to talk to supporters and took questions from CBC/Radio-Canada.
Conservative candidate Don Stewart hugs a supporter as the results come in during the Toronto-St. Paul's federal byelection. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

Trudeau, who has not taken questions from reporters since the byelection, has insisted he plans to stay on as leader.

"I and my entire team have much more hard work to do to deliver tangible, real progress that Canadians can see and feel," he said in a media statement this week.

Before this week's vote, a Conservative candidate hadn't been competitive in Toronto-St. Paul's since the 1980s. The party hadn't won a seat in urban Toronto since the 2011 federal election.

Conservative Don Stewart secured the breakthrough, beating Liberal candidate Leslie Church by 590 votes.

CBC has reached out to Long for comment.

In 2017, he was kicked off two parliamentary committees after he supported a failed Conservative motion related to proposed small business tax changes.