With another high-profile resignation hanging over his government, a simple question by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the beginning of a Liberal party rally on climate change action may have had more than one meaning.
"Are there any Liberals in the house?" Trudeau asked after taking to the podium, adjusting the microphone to his height and making sure the auto-prompter was working.
After a series of departures and criticism from within his own cabinet and caucus, perhaps no one could blame the prime minister for being skeptical about whether he was facing a friendly crowd. Nevertheless, he launched into an energetic speech, touting his government's policies and actions on climate change, while fending off protests for animal rights and against his government's moves to drive pipeline construction through Indigenous territory.
Moments earlier, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna had pumped up the crowd, stressing the importance of tackling global warming and its devastating impacts on cities and our daily lives, while noting that Trudeau was someone who always had her back on the file.
After thanking local Toronto-Danforth Liberal MP Julie Dabrusin, and hailing McKenna, as a "total rock star" who is "doing an outstanding job for Canadians," Trudeau took a moment to address Jane Philpott's resignation over the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
"I know that Ms. Philpott's felt this way for some time, and while I am disappointed, I understand her decision to step down and want to thank her for her service," he said, referring to the head of the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Trudeau's troubles with SNC-Lavalin started last month when the Globe and Mail reported that Trudeau and other government officials inappropriately tried to interfere with a decision by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould not to offer a plea deal to the company in order to help it avoid a trial and possible criminal conviction on corruption charges.
Wilson-Raybould who was moved to the veterans affairs portfolio, resigned from cabinet less than a week after the reports about political interference surfaced. She told parliamentary hearings last week that she no longer had confidence to sit around the cabinet table.
A few days later, Philpott made the same choice.
"In a democracy such as ours, and in a place where we value our diversity so strongly, we are allowed to have disagreement and debate, we even encourage it," the prime minister said.
Trudeau has previously said that Wilson-Raybould should have come to him if she had any problems about the pressure she was facing, although during her testimony before the House of Commons justice committee, she said that she actually had warned him during a meeting in September when she advised him not to politically interfere with her role as attorney general.
He has said he completely disagrees with her view that she was inappropriately pressured.
On this night, while many in the crowd chanted "Tru-deau" in support, there were also a few that disagreed about the government's climate policies for not being strong enough.
"Then don't delay on climate, don't be a climate delayer," came a voice from the crowd as Trudeau moved on to the subject at hand.
Trudeau said that "enjoying our natural world is a huge part of the Canadian identity."
After more than 20 seconds of dueling voices — Trudeau's and a string of those from the crowd, which largely made each other inaudible — Trudeau emerged with "faced with climate change, we don't have a moment to spare."
And to which the reply from the woman in the crowd came without missing a beat: "Then don't build pipelines because we can't build them. The climate scientists told us, that if we keep building pipelines we will be heading towards devastation, so don't build pipelines if you really care. Switch to renewable energy."
"No pipelines in Wet'suwet'en territory," later repeated a voice from the crowd, referring to the First Nation in central British Columbia where a subsidiary of Calgary-based energy company TransCanada bulldozed land in January, while the RCMP enforced a court order sought by the company so that it could proceed with construction.
The woman continued to shout until the Liberal supporters around clapped and cheered to drown out her voice. "How dare you do that to Jody?" she added, referring to Wilson-Raybould, the first Indigenous person to act as Canada's attorney general and justice minister.
As the prime minister's RCMP detail moved in to calm things down, Trudeau hit some talking points about the lack of any climate plan from his opponents, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer's Conservatives.
He finished his speech to a "Trudeau" chant from some in the crowd, while most turned their attention to the task of retrieving their jackets from the mandatory coat check.