Source: Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister of Canada: YouTube

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said they “clearly” have work to do if they want to stay in government at the next election.

After losing a critical byelection in the Toronto—St. Paul’s riding on Monday, Trudeau and Freeland sounded off about what the loss could mean for their party.

“This was obviously not the result we wanted. But I want to be clear that I hear people’s concerns and frustrations,” Trudeau said at a press conference on ocean conservation in Vancouver, B.C. on Tuesday.

“These are not easy times and it’s clear that I and my entire Liberal team have much more work to do to deliver tangible real progress for Canadians across the country to the sea.”

Trudeau congratulated Conservative Don Stewart for his narrow victory in the riding and thanked the Liberal team that attempted to get Leslie Church elected before leaving the presser without taking any questions from the media.

Freeland’s comments were a far cry from her comments the night before when she said that voting for Conservatives in the byelection was voting for an alternative that was “really cold and cruel and small.

“She said a vote for the Conservatives was a vote for cuts, austerity and “not believing in ourselves as a country, not believing in our communities and in our neighbours.”

But now facing the results of the byelection the following morning she said this was an indication for the Liberal party to do better.

“This is a disappointing result for us. We take the result very seriously. We know that Canadians are hurting right now,” Freeland said. “We know that we have to work hard to win back their trust.”

She said this tells her that they need to do more of what they have been saying they would do all year, such as “building more homes faster…delivering programs that make life more affordable for Canadians, like dental care, like early learning and child care, to deliver with investments to grow the economy and to create great jobs.”

“We know that we need to do it in a fiscally responsible way. Because it is so important. To continue on the path we’re on,” Freeland said.

She noted that inflation has been within the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 3% for the last five months.

“That is good news. But we have more work to do so that we can support the Bank of Canada in lowering rates because we know that that will bring relief to Canada and Canadians.”

When asked by a reporter if the Liberal party could win anywhere under Trudeau’s leadership, given that they lost in a typical Liberal stronghold, Freeland, speaking for the party, pledged continued support for the current Prime Minister.

“Our government is focused on working hard for Canada and Canadians and on delivering results for Canada and Canadians,” she said.

“That is what the Prime Minister is focused on. That is what we are all focused on. The Prime Minister is committed to leading us into the next election and has our support.”

Stewart was elected with 42.1% with a narrow 590-vote lead over Church by the time the election was called early Tuesday morning.

“The results sent Justin Trudeau a loud and clear message: He is not worth the cost.” Stewart posted on X on Tuesday afternoon. “Pierre Poilievre has a common sense plan that is resonating in every corner of the country, including right here in the heart of Toronto.”