Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi enters Ontario Liberal leadership race

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Ontario Liberal leadership hopefuls gearing up campaigns
RELATED: A series of high-profile candidates are in the process of launching and exploring campaigns to lead the Ontario Liberal Party. Global News’ Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Colin D’Mello reports – May 9, 2023

OTTAWA — Yasir Naqvi has joined the race to become the next leader of Ontario’s Liberal party.

The Ottawa Centre MP and former provincial cabinet minister announced his run Saturday, saying he wanted to vie for the job because he feels “the promise of Ontario is slipping away” amid education and health care cuts made by the Progressive Conservatives. He also singled out soaring housing and grocery costs as issues plaguing the province and its residents.

“My mission is to transform our party, in every single riding, all 124. So we can stop (Ontario Premier Doug) Ford in 2026 — and get back to the promise of Ontario,” he said in a press release.

“It shouldn’t matter if you are born in Windsor, Timmins or Karachi. In our province, you should have the opportunity to succeed — to lead a good life that’s affordable. That’s the promise of Ontario.”

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Naqvi stepped down from his role as a parliamentary secretary in March to explore a possible provincial leadership run.

He was elected federally in 2021 but had served for nearly nine years at the provincial legislature, including as Ontario’s attorney general and labour minister.

Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Kingston and the Islands MPP Ted Hsu have already entered the race. Mississauga, Ont., mayor Bonnie Crombie and Toronto-area MPP Adil Shamji are also exploring leadership bids.

Party members will cast their votes by ranked ballot on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, with the Liberals set to announce round-by-round results the following weekend. A new leader will be announced on Dec. 2.

Whoever is selected will replace Steven Del Duca, who resigned as the party’s leader when the Liberals failed to win enough seats to secure official party status in last year’s election. It was the second campaign in a row in which the once dominant Liberals failed to reach that threshold.

Del Duca has since been elected mayor of Vaughan, a city north of Toronto.

Naqvi will officially launch his campaign late Saturday morning at a pancake breakfast at St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall in Ottawa, where he has begun every campaign since his first bid for office in 2007.

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He was expected to round out his day with an afternoon visit to Reid’s Dairy in Belleville for ice cream and an evening rally with supporters at the Capitol Banquet Center in Mississauga.

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