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Liberals Organize Caucus Retreat to Prepare for Upcoming Fall Sitting Amid Declining Poll Numbers

The Liberals’ caucus retreat in London, Ont., this week will focus on hot-button issues such as housing affordability as the party looks to reclaim dwindling support among voters.

Recent polling suggests the Liberals are losing favour with Canadian voters, and the Sept. 12 to 14 retreat will serve as a regrouping effort for the party ahead of the House of Commons reconvening on Sept. 18.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre’s messaging about mounting housing and affordability woes eight years into Liberal governance appears to be resonating with voters, but the southwestern Ontario caucus retreat will focus on parrying messaging while proffering solutions.

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According to early September Leger Marketing polling, the Tories enjoy 38 percent support among decided voters compared to the Liberals’ 29 percent.

Leger’s poll suggests that deteriorating cost of living standards are affecting greater swaths of the country, with 47 percent of respondents saying they are living paycheque to paycheque. That figure grew to 53 percent among voters aged 18 to 35, and to 57 percent in the prime income-earning demographic of 35 to 54.

The same poll revealed 59 and 35 percent of respondents are respectively “dissatisfied” and “very dissatisfied” by Mr. Trudeau’s stewardship of the country.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller told CBC the Liberals have not yet determined how to parry Mr. Poilievre’s criticism.

“There’s a tension as to how to engage…whether you fight fire with fire and bring yourself down to a level of politics that you yourself have sworn to your electors you would never engage,” Mr. Miller told CBC.

“There is a struggle and attention generally as to how to deal with a person like that, that Canadian politics, in particular, hasn’t seen much of.”

In July, the prime minister reshuffled his cabinet in a bid to give his team fresh energy. The move has not had an impact on voter favourability and several ministers who were removed from cabinet announced they wouldn’t seek re-election.

On housing affordability, the Liberals face a tall order with the issue not being easy to resolve quickly.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced in June that the country would need 3.5 million more homes to achieve a supply-demand equilibrium that would “restore affordability.”

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