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Trudeau says he considered stepping down during marriage difficulties

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a recent podcast that he considered walking away from the job last year as his marriage began to fracture.

Prime minister made the comments on a recent podcast episode

A man and a woman stand on a stairway outside the entrance to an airplane and wave.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a recent podcast that he considered walking away from the job last year as his marriage began to fracture.

Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, announced last August that they had agreed to separate.

During an episode of the ReThinking podcast that was released Tuesday, psychologist and host Adam Grant asked Trudeau how often he thinks about quitting.

"These days not at all," Trudeau said, before conceding that the thought crossed his mind last year.

"There was a moment last year as I was facing some difficulties in my marriage where I really wondered, 'OK, is there a path [to step aside]?

"I just realized, that's not me. There is so much to do still."

In an interview with Radio-Canada in March, Trudeau playfully said he thinks every day about quitting his "crazy," "super tough" and at times "challenging" job.

Trudeau told Grant that those comments were meant to suggest that he checks to ensure he's "all in" on the job.

"If you're going to be honest about doing a job like this, that has the responsibilities and impact it has, you have to check that — maybe not every day — but you have to check that you're up for it, that you're all in," he said.

"Even though I've been in it for a few years, even though it's harder now than it was before, even though my opponent is getting traction … if they are enough to make you say, 'No,' then you shouldn't be doing it."

The governing Liberals have been trailing the opposition Conservatives in the polls and Trudeau's personal approval rating has been sliding. An Angus Reid poll from April found that only 28 per cent of Canadians approve of Trudeau, while 66 per cent disapprove of him as prime minister.

Trudeau acknowledged his current unpopularity when Grant asked him how he deals with criticism from Canadians.

"I try to go to a place of empathy," Trudeau said.

"No matter how much they dislike me, I still have to try and think about what I can do to make sure that [Canadians], or their kids or their community, is doing better."

Trudeau's appearance on the podcast is part of a concerted effort by the Liberals to win over younger voters.

The prime minister has been sitting down for interviews with popular podcasts and YouTube channels about health care, economics and personal finance, and even women's basketball.

In his preamble, Grant said that Trudeau's team reached out to offer him an interview "out of the blue."

WATCH: The growing importance of the upcoming byelection

What’s at stake for the Liberals in the upcoming Toronto byelection? I Power & Politics

6 days ago

Duration 4:29

Voters head to the polls in Toronto-St. Paul's in a federal byelecton, June 24. 338Canada poll aggregator Philippe Fournier breaks down the numbers.

A surge in the millennial vote was largely credited with helping Trudeau's Liberals win government in the 2015 federal election. But recent surveys suggest that voters in younger demographics are leaning toward the Conservatives.

The Liberal strategy to court younger voters will be put to the test in a byelection in the riding of Toronto-St. Paul's later this month.

The riding has elected Liberals since the 1990s. Former cabinet minister (and current ambassador to Denmark) Carolyn Bennett held the riding from 1997 to 2024.

Polling expert Philippe Fournier of 338Canada told CBC's Power & Politics last week that despite the Liberals' strong results in 2021 — when Bennett won over half of the vote — there is a risk they might lose the riding in the byelection.

"We should consider this riding as a tossup, with a slight lean to the Liberals," he said. "Of course there's some uncertainty in the numbers, but we expect the Liberals to win by a margin of between four and eight points."


Darren Major

CBC Journalist

Darren Major is a senior writer for CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He can be reached via email at darren.major@cbc.ca.

    With files from The Canadian Press

    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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