Justin Trudeau CRISIS: Canada PMs popularity PLUNGES, Conservatives AHEAD

Canadians are due to go to the polls in October but Mr Trudeau is battling to maintain his popularity after becoming embroiled in claims his aides pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to ensure construction firm SNC-Lavalin avoided a corruption investigation. The 47-year-old insists there was no wrongdoing but 41 percent of Canadians disagreed with Mr Trudeau in a Leger poll for news agency The Canadian Press. Just 12 percent believed he hadn’t done anything wrong following the allegations which has left his Liberal Party in turmoil.

The poll read even worse for Mr Trudeau on a question regarding which party respondents would vote for in the autumn election.

Leger found 36 percent of people said they would vote for the opposition Conservative party while 34 percent would support Mr Trudeau’s Liberals.

It marks the first time since the 2015 general election the Conservatives have been ahead of the Liberals who were once way out in front in the polls.

The results have left Mr Trudeau’s inner team fearing he could be ousted outright or forced into a coalition government in eight months time.

Also worrying for Mr Trudeau was the response to a question on which party’s leader would make the best Prime Minister.

Despite receiving the most support, just 26 percent of respondents answered for Mr Trudeau - a seven point nosedive from a similar Leger poll conducted in November last year.

Opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer received 21 percent while Green leader Elizabeth May scored eight percent and the New Democratic Party’s Jagmeet Singh gained six percent.

Leger’s executive vice president Christian Bourque said the results proved Canadians were increasingly suspicious of their prime minister.

Mr Leger told Canadian media: “I think a lot of it leads back to how the prime minister himself has handled the crisis over the last week or so.

“He’s not found a way to reassure Canadians or … been clear enough about his involvement, what he said or did not say, so that a lot of Canadians right now are holding it up against him because they don’t know all the ins and outs to make up their own mind.”

However Mr Bourque added the polls do not necessarily mean Mr Scheer is destined for victory.

He said: “There’s nobody right now that’s capturing the minds and hearts of Canadians and probably explains why voting intentions are so close while we see that the Prime Minister is actually showing signs of weakening in terms of support.”

Mr Trudeau has been hit by a series of resignations from his administration and met with members of his Liberal Party yesterday to calm anger about how he is handling the SNC-Lavalin affair.

He has dismissed calls for a full public inquiry into claims relating to the Montreal engineering firm’s government contracts in Libya, saying the ethic commissioner has launched a probe into suggestions staff in the Prime Minister’s Office pressured Ms Wilson Raybould when she was justice minister.

Wilson-Raybould, who was demoted in a cabinet reshuffle last month, resigned as veterans affairs minister on February 12.

She has been invited to speak to the Canadian House of Commons’s justice committee and is currently consulting lawyers as to how much she can reveal on SNC-Lavalin.

Meanwhile Mr Trudeau’s principal private secretary and close ally Gerald Butts quit on Monday insisting he had not pressured the former Attorney General.

Mr Trudeau’s position is not in immediate danger after Wednesday’s three hour clear-the-air meeting with members of his party with one source saying no leadership challenges are being plotted.

Mr Trudeau can not be replaced by parliamentary vote of no-confidence in the same way Theresa May fought off a Labour initiated challenge in January as Canadian party leaders are confirmed at formal conventions.

Canadian international development minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she was “very satisfied with the overall meeting we had” while another source said the tone was polite and “there were no naked raw emotions on the table” even when Mr Trudeau and Ms Wilson-Raybould exchanged comments.

However another source said Mr Trudeau ignored questions about exactly why Mr Butts quit and did not outline what his next steps are to see off the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

A further source said: “We need to put this to bed. It's exhausting to be on the defensive and the longer this goes on the harder it will be to get our message out.”

Leger polled 1,529 random Canadian voters online from February 15 to February 19.

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