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LeBlanc says he plans to run in next election, under Trudeau's leadership

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Cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc says he plans to run in the next election as a candidate under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's leadership, amid questions about his rumoured interest in succeeding his longtime friend for the top job.

Asked if he planned to run for Liberal leader, in the event the position opened up, he said "no."

"I plan to be a candidate in the next election under Prime Minister Trudeau's leadership. I'm very happy, I'm excited about that," said LeBlanc, who has held a series of senior portfolios and is currently Canada's minister of public safety, democratic institutions and intergovernmental affairs.

"I'm focused on the responsibilities he gave me. It's a big job, I'm enjoying it, and I'm optimistic that our team and the prime minister will make the case to Canadians as to why we should be re-elected," he said.

Asked as he was walking away whether he had been having discussions about a potential run, whether he thinks Trudeau should resign, or whether he is organizing a bid, LeBlanc did not respond.

The questions came after the Globe and Mail published a column on Wednesday that stated a former Liberal cabinet minister met with LeBlanc to discuss plans for him to run to succeed Trudeau as party leader and prime minister, if Trudeau was to step down.

The column also reported that "over whisky and cigars" an "eager" LeBlanc agreed to be part of a group to lay the foundations for a campaign.

While LeBlanc did not directly address this report, questions around Trudeau's leadership and contenders contemplating runs to replace him have been swirling on Parliament Hill for some time, buoyed recently by the prime minister's polling numbers.

With files from CTV News' Jordan Gowling

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