OTTAWA—The premiers each got a call. So did the mayors of Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. As did the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
But beyond brief courtesy calls following the election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far not reached out to the opposition leaders, who together hold his political future in their hands, for substantive discussions about the path ahead.
That’s prompting public questions and private grumbles about the Liberals’ early approach to dealing with a minority parliament.
“We spoke once after the election. I congratulated him on the win and he congratulated me, and after that we have not spoken. We’re open to conversations. We’re putting out our priorities. We’re happy to have any conversations,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said after his first meeting with his new caucus on Wednesday.
Asked if he thinks Trudeau should get in touch, Singh added, “I think so.”
When they won just 157 seats in the Oct. 21 vote, the Liberals fell short of the 170 seats needed for a majority government. That means they will need the support of opposition MPs to move forward on their legislative agenda.
Andrew Scheer has not heard from Trudeau either, said one Conservative Party official, who called the lack of outreach “strange.”
The source said that Conservative MPs from Western Canada could provide “advice and counsel” on dealing with what he branded a “growing national unity crisis,” a reference to the discontent in Alberta and Saskatchewan that saw the Liberals wiped out in both provinces.
“The fact that the prime minister has not yet reached out to Andrew Scheer or Jagmeet Singh is a sign the Liberals aren’t serious about making this minority parliament work in a collaborative fashion,” said the official.
That sentiment was driven home in Facebook video posted by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel.
The MP for Calgary-Nosehill, said the prime minister should reach across the House to the opposition benches, where Conservatives like her were elected to represent the people of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“We’re in a minority situation, and I get that he’s going to be trying to build bridges — the easier bridges — with the NDP and the Bloc, who are anti-energy sector,” Rempel said.
“You’re going to have to work with us if you want to ensure that our country stays together.”
A spokesperson for Trudeau confirmed that there have been no followup phone calls with any of the opposition leaders, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.
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But Chantal Gagnon noted that Trudeau said last week that he would be seeking to meet with the opposition leaders in the coming weeks.
“The prime minister spoke to all leaders after the election and looks forward to continued dialogue with them moving forward in order to help make life more affordable for Canadians, build a stronger middle class, and work collaboratively toward a stronger country,” she said.