Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie appears to be ready to announce her candidacy for the leadership on the Ontario Liberals. The Queen’s Park Observer first reported that Crombie would run. posting a screen grab of a Crombie leadership campaign web page which was subsequently taken down. Since then, she has booked a TV interview on CP24 for Tuesday. She told the Toronto Star’s Robert Benzie, “I’m the only person thinking about putting their name forward who has governing experience and who has gone toe-to-toe with the Ford government — whether it’s over the housing affordability crisis, health care and education or the climate change crisis,” said Crombie. “I have been meeting and speaking with Liberals across the province and many of them have encouraged me to run.”
There was some speculation that Premier Doug Ford’s announcement that Mississauga would become a stand-alone city might cause Crombie to remain as Mississauga Mayor. The premier’s move squelched earlier suggestions that the province might amalgamate Brampton and Mississauga which would have pitted Crombie in a head-to-head race against Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown in the next municipal election.
Liberal sources told the Bay Observer last week that despite Ford’s announcement, Crombie was continuing to call ranking Liberals in the province for support in her possible leadership bid. She was highly visible making the rounds at the Liberal Convention held in Hamilton earlier this year.
A long-time Liberal, Crombie was elected Liberal MP for the riding of Mississauga-Streetsville in 2008, but lost the seat in the 2011 federal election. The same year she ran for city council in Mississauga narrowly defeating a former Liberal Cabinet minister Carolyn Parrish.
In 2014, on the retirement of long-time Mayor Hazel McCallion, Crombie won the mayoralty by a landslide and has since been re-elected twice by wide margins. If successful. Crombie would take over a party that has seven elected members and has not had official party status since 2018. Former leader Stephen Del Duca while unsuccessful in the 2022 election, did manage to clear off the party’s debt. The party also managed to nose out the NDP for second place in the popular vote, capturing 1.1 million votes.