Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie strongly considering entering race for Liberal leadership

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Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie strongly considering entering race for Liberal leadership
WATCH: Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie strongly considering entering race for Liberal leadership – May 4, 2023

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is strongly considering entering the race for Ontario Liberal Leader, Global News has learned, with the Peel Region politician now on the doorstep of a decision that could be finalized within the next week.

Multiple sources told Global News that Crombie, who has led Mississauga city council since 2014, has been gauging support for a potential leadership bid and is set to attend the federal Liberal National Convention in Ottawa, from May 4 to 6, as part that process.

“While Bonnie has not made any decisions on entering the race, this will give her an opportunity to meet with grassroots Liberals to hear their thoughts on a potential run,” Darryn McArthur, a spokesperson for Crombie, told Global News.

Supporters and advisers are expecting a final decision around the second week of May, giving Crombie a little under four months to sign up party members before a Sept. 11 cutoff.

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“Hopefully, after the Liberal convention, she’ll have some time to talk to family and her partner to really take a good, hard look at her ability to lead the Ontario Liberal Party and to form a government in the 2026 election,” one source close to Crombie told Global News.

While candidate registration for the leadership race has yet to open, the Ontario Liberal Party executive said candidates will have to pay at $100,000 entry fee and a refundable $25,000 deposit.

Liberals will pick the next leader using a ranked ballot vote on Nov. 25 and 26, and the party is set to release round-by-round results on Dec. 2, the weekend after the vote.

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Unlike the Ontario NDP, which acclaimed Marit Stiles as the party leader after she was the sole candidate in its leadership race earlier in 2023, the Liberals have seen a number of high-profile names on the unofficial campaign trail.

Candidates include federal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, former Ontario cabinet minister and current Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi and Ontario Liberal MPPs Ted Hsu and Adil Shamji.

Crombie, however, is considered a star candidate whose name recognition and Peel Region roots could bode well in the GTA-905 — a region seen as crucial to winning a majority government in Ontario. In 2022, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives swept Mississauga and Brampton, giving the party a large share of seats in the Ontario legislature.

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Crombie also emerged as a foil to Premier Ford’s municipal policies after provincial legislation stripped away development charges that Mississauga and other cities relied on to pay for infrastructure to support new developments. Sources said the government’s controversial Bill 23 and the Greenbelt changes are among the factors driving Crombie’s consideration.

A mail-out campaign warning Mississauga residents of a potential tax increase related to the Ford government’s policies led to friction between the two leaders and triggered a rant by the premier at a transit announcement in Brampton.

“We have a few mayors that, you know, don’t want to play in the sandbox and one being Mayor Crombie, and I don’t know what her issue is,” Ford said in December. 

Liberal insiders, who have urged Crombie to run, have shared their belief that her ability to get under Ford’s skin and her lack of baggage associated with the former Liberal government makes her a serious contender to challenge the PC Party in 2026.

While Crombie is close to making a final decision, sources told Global News she has also been weighing the cons of running for the leadership.

The move, sources said, would be a major life change for Crombie who currently enjoys massive approval ratings in Mississauga which could translate into a job for life as mayor. Crombie, sources said, is also aware of the challenges of rebuilding a party, fundraising and fighting an equally popular Ford in a general election.

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Part of Crombie’s consideration is likely to include whether to remain at the helm of Mississauga, take a formal leave of absence or resign ahead of a leadership campaign.

City councillor, and former Liberal Leadership contender, Alvin Tedjo told Global News he personally “wouldn’t see a problem” with Crombie staying on as mayor during the race.

“We can look at other municipalities as an example if a decision is made,” Tedjo said, referring to Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown who ran in the federal Conservative Party Leadership in 2022 while simultaneous leading Brampton city council.

“She’s been a great leader for the city for a long time and we have put together an excellent council and we can get a lot done,” Tedjo said.

“(Council can) continue working with the mayor in that capacity.”


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