Ontario Liberals announce candidate for 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

The Ontario Liberals have announced a local candidate for the upcoming Milton, Ont., byelection, ending speculation that recently-elected leader Bonnie Crombie would run for the vacant seat.

On Monday, the Liberals formally killed the idea their new leader could run for the seat, announcing Galen Naidoo Harris will be their candidate.

A byelection will take place in the Ontario town after the Ford government’s minister of red tape reduction stepped down to run federally for Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative Party.

Crombie had previously said was she “seriously” considering a run in the seat, which borders Mississauga, the city she governed as mayor for almost a decade.

“Milton is very close to home for me, so it’s something to consider seriously,” Crombie said in a February interview with Global News, adding at the time she was still “evaluating” her options.

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As Crombie publicly toyed with the idea of a run, the Progressive Conservatives appeared to throw significant resources at the seat.

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In particular, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced he would support building an all-day, two-way train line to Milton. The cost of that project is pegged at around $6 billion, with Ontario saying it is willing to take on half.

The Progressive Conservatives also announced their own candidate for the seat, a former local councillor, Zee Hamid. Records show Hamid had previously donated to the Liberal Party and even endorsed former Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca.

Cabinet ministers and Ford himself have been in Milton campaigning with Hamid.

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“Galen always puts his community first, and has built a career on helping Milton families,” Crombie said, referring to the Liberal candidate.

“​I am thrilled to have this experienced young leader on our team, and I look forward to welcoming him to Queen’s Park where he will build on his service to residents and represent the needs of his generation.”

The party said Harris has lived in Milton his whole life and worked in several local capacities, including as manager of community affairs for federal Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden

Harris said the Ford government had “neglected” his town.

​”I am proud to call Milton home and look forward to finding ways to lift up every local family Doug Ford has let down,” he said in a statement.

The premier has until July to call a byelection in Milton.

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