Departing Mayor Crombie sees a bright, independent future for Mississauga


Published January 10, 2024 at 2:38 pm

Mayor Bonnie Crombie's last meeting in council chambers in Mississauga Jan. 10 2024
Mayor Bonnie Crombie says goodbye to Mississauga at Wednesday's meeting of general committee, her final meeting inside council chambers.

In saying goodbye — again — to Mississauga councillors, city staff and residents of Canada’s seventh-largest city, an impassioned Mayor Bonnie Crombie spoke today about everything from shinny hockey to her iconic predecessor Hazel McCallion to the person who’ll succeed her in the mayor’s seat.

The third-term Mississauga mayor, who took the helm from a supportive McCallion in 2014, also spoke about many other things and offered thanks to numerous people as she took part in her final meeting inside council chambers before she’ll head to Queen’s Park in Toronto to officially begin her full-time duties as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Crombie was successful in her bid for the provincial Liberal leadership, winning the election in early December.

The remarks from Crombie, 63, whose last day on the job in Mississauga is this Friday, can best be described as part trip down fond memory lane, part optimistic vision for Mississauga’s future.

“It has been the experience of a lifetime and, quite honestly, it is an honour to serve with you and serve this incredible city,” began Crombie in her farewell to councillors and senior City of Mississauga staff. “It’s an honour of a lifetime and I’ll never forget it. It was always my life mission to serve; like many of you, I still believe that politics is a noble profession and that you give it your all, as I do.”

After being involved in federal politics in Mississauga, in which she served as MP for Streetsville from 2008 to 2011, Crombie jumped into the municipal arena right afterwards — at the prompting of “Hurricane Hazel.”

McCallion, who had occupied the Mississauga mayor’s seat since 1978, was typically direct in her attempt — successful as it turned out — to pull Crombie toward local politics.

As Crombie recounted earlier today, McCallion showed up at her federal election night party and suggested she take a shot at Mississauga city council.

“You’ve been a good MP, but there’s an opening on my council and I think you should put your name in,” Crombie recalled McCallion telling her more than a dozen years ago.

After giving it consideration, Crombie said she made the big move.

“I saw it as another opportunity to serve my city and the people I love and continue to do the work on the ground,” Crombie said of her move to municipal politics.

At her final meeting inside council chambers, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie spoke about what the job meant to her and what the future holds for Canada’s seventh-largest city.

Crombie won a 2011 byelection in Ward 5, narrowly defeating current ward councillor Carolyn Parrish in the battle to succeed Eve Adams.

“And what I learned, the difference between federal and municipal politics is, boy, we get things done and we get it done faster,” Crombie said. “And it’s really where the rubber hits the road. It’s the issues that people care about, that are nearest and dearest to their hearts.”

Mississauga’s departing mayor said during her time serving Ward 5, she was as proud of helping to bring the first new BIA to the Malton area as she was of helping to create a low-cost shinny hockey league for the community.

As she looks forward, Crombie said she sees good things on the horizon for Mississauga, including what she predicts will be an eventual — and necessary — political split from the Region of Peel. That reorganization seemed to be a done deal up until about one month ago, when suddenly it wasn’t.

She added she’s confident that whomever succeeds her in the mayor’s seat — so far, councillors Parrish and Stephen Dasko have announced they’ll run in an upcoming byelection — will get the full support of council and others.

And it’s a council that’s remarkably different in its makeup than most of the councils that have come before, Crombie pointed out.

“I’m looking at you (councillors) and you are perhaps the youngest, most diverse council I’ve sat with, and that was something we’d been striving for…because we knew we didn’t have a lens to the different cultural communities here in Mississauga,” Crombie said. “We had long-standing, very committed councillors, but not a lot of diversity, and boy that’s changed over the years and I’m so proud of you.”

Crombie concluded her remarks by saying she feels a profound sense of gratitude toward city councillors and staff with whom she’s served the past 12 years.

Additionally, she’s optimistic for Mississauga’s future as the city celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024.

“We’re going to continue to grow and continue to be the envy of the world…especially with our beautiful waterfront development, the downtown redevelopment, the growth that’s coming and we’re building a more welcoming, inclusive city,” Crombie said before signing off.

“I know this momentum we’ve built will propel us to even greater heights.”

A recent interview with Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

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