Defeating Doug Ford a hot topic as Mississauga mayor debates Liberal rivals in Brampton
Published November 20, 2023 at 1:24 pm
In the final Ontario Liberal Party leadership debate held Sunday in Brampton, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and her three rivals took a break from attacking each other and instead focused on a few main objectives — chief among them figuring out how to unseat Premier Doug Ford in the next provincial election.
Tackling the affordability crisis and improving health care were also front-and-centre as Crombie, Liberal MPs Nate Erskine-Smith and Yasir Naqvi, and former Liberal MP and current provincial caucus member Ted Hsu went toe-to-toe just six days before Ontario Liberals will come together to vote for one of them as their new leader.
Crombie, 63, on leave from the Mississauga mayor’s post to run provincially and the perceived frontrunner, said atop her priority list is how to do the most good for the most people in the face of pressing, critical issues.
“For me, of course, (the most pressing issue) is the affordability crisis. How do we help bring costs down for people? How do we build more homes, not just attainable homes, whatever those are, but affordable homes? And that requires three levels of government and our partners in the home-building business to come together and create solutions,” she said on the Sunday afternoon debate stage in Brampton.
In a bid to prevent Crombie from emerging victorious, Erskine-Smith and Naqvi nearly two weeks ago formed a pact in which they’ve each urged their supporters to list the other as their second choice when Ontario Liberals vote on a new leader over the Nov. 25-26 weekend.
It’s a not-so-subtle attempt to defeat Crombie, widely viewed as the frontrunner among the four hopefuls.
Hsu wrote on social media on Nov. 9 that he was also invited to “explore this arrangement,” but declined.
Results of the leadership battle will be revealed on Dec. 2 in Toronto.
The Liberal Party of Ontario will use the ranked ballot system to select the victor this coming weekend. In voting, party members will rank their preferred choices among the four candidates.
If one candidate gets more than 50 per cent of the first-choice votes, they’d secure the victory. However, if not, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is dropped from the contest and the second-choice votes from party members are then counted for the candidates who are left standing.
The pact between Erskine-Smith and Naqvi also seeks to combine forces on get-out-the-vote efforts on election weekend.
Crombie, shown in an online Angus Reid poll in September to be the preferred choice by a wide margin to be the next leader of the Ontario Liberals, took a leave of absence from her post as Mississauga’s mayor on Oct. 6.”
In her absence, Mississauga councillors will assume the mayor’s duties on a two-month, rotating basis. Duties include chairing council and committee meetings and attending official events on behalf of the mayor.
Crombie, who served as a Liberal MP from 2008 to 2011 before succeeding Hazel McCallion as mayor of Mississauga in 2014, won a third-straight term as Mississauga mayor last fall, earning 77 per cent of the vote in the 2022 municipal election.
A recent insauga.com interview with Mayor Bonnie Crombie.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising