Gathering at the Hamilton Convention Centre over the weekend, the Ontario Liberals hosted a well-attended and up-beat conference. The weekend was an opportunity to show that the party is busy working on returning to form and reigniting its base, as its leadership is restructured after a second substantial defeat at the polls.
One primary focus of the weekend was to elect a new executive who will mange the leadership contest and prepare for the next election.
The resounding message of the candidates was a need to quickly but properly develop a fresh approach, reform, and party teamwork and unity to defeat Doug Ford in the 2026 election There was an overall air of excitement about the turnout by a mainly young group of delegates.
“It’s a great sign that 1500 people registered and that so many people are actively engaged,” said Damien O’Brien who is running for Executive Vice President of the party. “People are passionate about change, certainly about defeating the Ford government.”
When asked where they go from here, O’Brien remarked, “we have to take this and run with it. More events, more activities. AGMs (Annual General Meetings) are internal processes, but I think they send a strong signal to Ontarians that we are ready to recommit ourselves to serving them and addressing the issues that are important to them.”
Issues discussed included health care, education, the greenbelt, and rural inclusion. The other main item of business was the method of electing the party leader. The convention voted to move to the on e-person-one-vote method of leader selection.
Interim leader John Fraser issued a statement reading, “I am happy to see Ontario Liberals overwhelmingly vote in favour of modernizing the way we choose our leader. All Ontario Liberal Party members will have a more direct role to play in picking Ontario’s next Premier.”
Among observers at the convention were Federal Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra and Conservative MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook Donna Skelly.
When asked her thoughts on the turnout and excitement of the convention, Skelley responded: “As a Conservative and an observer I think it’s a lot of the same old Liberal messaging which is the reason why they have been unable to reclaim party status through two elections.”
The AGM concludes later today and the results of the Executive Council election will be announced at approximately 11:30 am.