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Liberal MPs were sounding a more conciliatory tone Thursday as they gathered for the first time since losing 20 seats and their parliamentary majority.
The party went from 177 MPs to 157 in the last election and were shut out of two western provinces. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the meeting was an opportunity to hear from MPs and think about the next steps.
“This a moment to gather, amongst friends, to reflect on the experiences we have had over the last few months.”
Heritage minister Pablo Rodríguez said the party was given a mandate but also has to reflect on what went wrong.
“We have to look at the results, some of our colleagues are not here anymore and we have to understand why,” he said.
He said the party will have to be, “more humble, listen more and have a lot of corroboration with other parties.”
“We have a mandate to govern Canada but that mandate also comes with the necessity to discuss, to negotiate with other parties.”
Quebec MP Steve MacKinnon said the party’s starting point is going to be the platform it ran on but they will also have to be flexible.
“Clearly, we don’t have the majority of votes and so we are going to have to talk to our friends across the way and see where we can find common ground.”
He said the party will approach negotiations with the glass half full.
“You start from the belief that everyone wants the right outcomes for Canada and for Canadians, believe in people’s good faith and stick to your principles. Principles can’t be negotiated.”
Trudeau said he will wait until after he meets with opposition leaders next week to decide when parliament will resume. He has scheduled meetings with every opposition party leader and has announced he will reveal his cabinet on Nov. 20.
He also said he is still working to address how the government will manage the lack of MPs from Saskatchewan and Alberta when putting together the cabinet.
“There is a lot of work to do to make sure we are governing for the entire country.”
Ralph Goodale, who lost the seat in Saskatchewan he had held for more than two decades, said Trudeau would find ways to have those provinces represented but more importantly is addressing the issues.
“The more critical thing is the substantive issue of understanding, clearly and deeply, what the issues were, and are, that are of deepest concern to western Canadians.”
Goodale said people in his riding are concerned about the economy.
“That was the issue that was raising the anxiety level across western Canada and it will be very important for the government to provide the necessary reassurance.”
Outgoing Natural Resources minister Amarjeet Sohi, who lost his seat in Edmonton, said getting the Trans Mountain pipeline done is essential.
“Having the construction underway and completing that project on time, absolutely is important to responding to western Canadian concerns,” he said.
He also said the government should emphasize what the energy industry has done for Canada.
“One way for us to move forward is to continue to stress the importance of oil and gas to Alberta, to Canada. And how oil and gas and the whole energy sector has contributed to the prosperity of every Canadian.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019