Bonnie Crombie seeks leadership of Ontario Liberals and attacks Doug Ford

Crombie says she’s running for Liberal leadership to replace Doug Ford.

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After Bonnie Crombie secures Mississauga’s divorce from Brampton, she wants to rise from mayor to prime minister. Crombie aspires to leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party.

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A The campaign website was launched on Monday morning explains why she is running and attacks Prime Minister Doug Ford, who has just granted Crombie’s request for Mississauga’s separation from the Peel Region.

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“I am a centrist by nature. I’m socially progressive but financially responsible,” the website reads. “Ontario is a turning point. We can no longer afford what this administration has done for the past five years.”

However, the site did not last long and was taken down shortly after the Sun Crombie asked for comment on the site.

The 63-year-old former MP has been the mayor of Ontario’s third largest city since 2014. Crombie has deep roots in liberal circles at the federal and provincial levels and would be a strong contender for the post and a strong opponent for Ford.

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The question: why on earth would Crombie want to run?

She was just given something she had longed for: taking Mississauga out of the Peel region and making it an independent city. If this goes into effect on January 1, 2025, Crombie would also have the strong mayoral powers that the province has already granted to Toronto and Ottawa.

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Last October, Crombie won re-election in Mississauga with ease, and chances are she – like her predecessor Hazel McCallion – could have a long career in office. Unlike McCallion, she would have an independent city and powers that previous mayors had championed for years.

Quitting the job before leading Mississauga into the next chapter seems like an odd decision. This decision becomes even stranger when you consider the job she would be leaving the mayor’s post for.

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There is no seat for the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in Queen’s Park Parliament, meaning there is no income beyond what the party can pay Crombie, around their current salary of around $200,000 for their to replace serving as Mayor and as Regional Councilor for Peel. At the moment the Ontario Liberal Party is broke; They have failed to reverse their fundraising, and Elections Ontario data shows that the PC Party is outstripping the Liberals in fundraising across Mississauga — and has been for years.

Sure, Crombie could add some zest and excitement to the party. Its years of organization for liberal politicians, stretching back decades, would bring valuable experience and strength to the party, but would it stand a chance of overthrowing Ford?

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A week is a lifetime in politics, so anything can happen in three years. But to say the Ontario Liberal Party is broken would be an understatement. If Crombie runs and wins, the work to rebuild the party that dominated provincial politics from 2003 to 2018 would be daunting.

This comes at a time when provincial liberal parties from Quebec to British Columbia have become quaint, distant memories or relics, no longer vying for power.

In the last two elections, the Ontario Liberals failed to gain official party status, meaning that technically any MPP flying the Queen’s Park Liberal banner is considered independent. The party won seven seats with 19.5% of the popular vote in 2018 and eight seats with 23.8% of the provincial vote in 2022.

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Going from third to first place would be a difficult task, but not impossible; That’s exactly what Justin Trudeau did at the federal level in 2015, to the surprise of everyone, including many liberals.

What would help Crombie in this task was not having Trudeau, an ineffective NDP leader at the head of the official opposition. Marit Stiles only took over leadership of her party earlier this year and, to be honest, she failed to get it started.

Their attempts to garner attention and take on the Ford government were the same well-worn issues that dominated the NDP’s 2022 election campaign, which saw the party lose nine seats, many in longtime NDP strongholds linked to Ford’s PC went partying, including in Hamilton, Windsor and Timmins.

Crombie obviously sees that Stiles is weak and hopes that in three years Ford will either be weak himself, retire or leave Queen’s Park to try his luck at the federal level.

There are many arguments as to why Crombie shouldn’t make this move, but there are plenty of arguments for it as well.


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