Mississauga’s Mayor exploring bid for Liberal leadership

“I want to be leader of a Liberal government that puts people first"

Sammy Hudes, The Canadian Press

Long−time Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is exploring a bid for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party, saying the province is at “a tipping point.”

Crombie has held the top job in the city west of Toronto since 2014 and was a federal Liberal Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2011.

The Canadian Press confirmed on Monday that Crombie is forming an “exploratory committee” to mull a leadership bid for the provincial Liberals, who captured just eight seats in last year’s election.

A website for Crombie’s potential campaign, bonnieforleader.ca, went live earlier in the day before the landing page was taken down.

But other sections of the website that remained active throughout the day outline Crombie’s rationale for a potential run.

“I want to be leader of a Liberal government that puts people first. We have a proud history in this party of creating a fair and inclusive Ontario, where opportunity is rewarded and those in need are given a hand up,” the website states, under a tab titled “Why I’m Running.”

“Under this government they have made things worse through cutbacks and underfunding of key public services.”

The page goes on to accuse Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government of having the wrong priorities, singling out a plan to build a luxury spa at Ontario Place on Toronto’s waterfront. Crombie contends the money would be better spent on fixing what she described as the province’s overburdened healthcare system.

Crombie describes herself as “a centrist by nature” on the web page, adding she is “socially progressive, but fiscally responsible.”

“My background in the private sector and my public service provide me with the tools and experience necessary to deal with the issues we face,” the website reads.

“Ontario is (at) a tipping point. We cannot afford more of what this government has done over the past five years. I’ve seen it firsthand in my community, and the burden it has placed on the residents of Mississauga. It’s time to put an end to this, and I want to lead our Party in forming the next government.”

Former leader Steven Del Duca, now the mayor of Vaughan, Ont., left a gap at the party helm when he resigned following the campaign that saw the Liberals fail to secure official party status for the second consecutive vote.

Federal MP Nate Erskine−Smith has also declared his intention to seek the party leadership.

Federal MP and former provincial cabinet minister Yasir Naqvi, along with Liberal MPPs Ted Hsu and Adil Shamji, have said they are exploring bids for the provincial party leadership.

A deadline of Sept. 5 has been set for candidates to register to run. Contestants must pay an entry fee of $100,000 and a refundable $25,000 deposit.

Party members will cast their votes by ranked ballot on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 and the Liberals will announce their new leader on Dec. 2.

Crombie was at the provincial legislature last week after Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark tabled a bill to dissolve Peel Region — which currently covers the municipalities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon — as of Jan. 1, 2025.

Crombie has said independence would save her municipality $1 billion over 10 years because her city has been the “cash cow” of the region, funding Brampton’s growth.

“I look forward to opening our books so everyone can see for themselves, the status of our finances and our reserves and what exactly Mississauga paid for the past 50 years towards the growth and the development of not only Mississauga but Brampton and Caledon,” she said Thursday.

— With files from Allison Jones

banner image: The Canadian Press