Bonnie Crombie ‘very close’ to deciding if she’ll run in battleground Milton byelection

Click to play video: 'Bonnie Crombie ‘seriously’ considering byelection run as Ford government throws money at Milton'
Bonnie Crombie ‘seriously’ considering byelection run as Ford government throws money at Milton
RELATED: Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie is “seriously” considering running in the riding of Milton to replace a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister who resigned in January. Meanwhile, the Ford government has announced billions of dollars in infrastructure funding for the riding. Global News' Queen's Park Bureau Chief Colin D'Mello explains. – Feb 8, 2024

Ontario Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie says she is “very close” to making a decision about whether she’ll run in an upcoming byelection in Milton, days after the Ontario Progressive Conservatives picked a candidate to carry the party banner.

The seat was vacated in February after cabinet minister Parm Gill resigned to run for the federal Conservative party instead, opening the door for the Ontario Liberals to parachute their newly elected leader to run.

While Crombie said party polling is “very strong” in the riding, she indicated on Friday that a local candidate might have a better chance at taking the seat from the Progressive Conservatives.

“Ideally, always, you want a community or business leader from Milton to run in the byelection,” Crombie told reporters in Milton. “So there are a number of people who have stepped up that I’ve been meeting with. And so we’ll make that determination.”

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Click to play video: 'Bonnie Crombie responds to ‘Queen of the carbon tax’ title'
Bonnie Crombie responds to ‘Queen of the carbon tax’ title

While Premier Doug Ford has yet to officially call the byelection in Milton, the PC Party has already tapped Zeeshan Hamid, a former mayoral candidate, to run for the party.

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The premier’s pick, however, raised questions because Hamid also has deep ties to the Ontario Liberal Party.

Global News confirmed that Hamid endorsed and was a delegate for Steven Del Duca during the last Liberal leadership race in 2020 and has donated roughly $3,500 to the Ontario Liberals over the past three years.

Liberal MP Adam Van Koeverden, who represents Milton on Parliament Hill, said Hamid had been a long-time friend and expressed surprise about the appointment.

“Frankly disappointed to see him sort of change his political stripes for an opportunity,” Van Koeverden said. “It’s something that I never really anticipated, but I also know that Milton’s a strong Liberal town.”

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On Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford called Hamid an “incredible candidate” and told Global News that candidates of all stripes are welcome in his party.

“That’s how we win elections,” Ford said. “Traditional NDP, traditional Liberals that always voted for someone else but they’re voting for our family.”

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