Former Mississauga – Brampton MP out of Ontario Liberal leadership race


Published March 30, 2023 at 9:46 pm

Navdeep Bains, a former federal cabinet minister and Mississauga MP will not run for Ontario Liberal Leadership.

The former MP of Mississauga – Malton Navdeep Bains has declared he will not run for the Ontario Liberal leadership.

The Ontario Liberals have been without a permanent leader since the provincial election on June 2, 2022. Then-leader Steven Del Duca stepped down from the role following the second crushing defeat to Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives in a row.

The losses come following a 15-year streak in power under Premier Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. In 2018 dwindling support culminated in the most brutal defeat in Ontario’s political history and the Liberal’s 161-year existence.

The former ruling party fell from 58 of Queen’s Park’s 124 seats to just seven, losing official party status. Wynne resigned leadership shortly after and was replaced by her Transport Minister Del Duca. Meanwhile, Ford’s PCs swept into a large majority of 76 seats.

However, Del Duca’s tenure saw little gain. The party took back only a single seat in 2022 and Del Duca lost his own seat in Vaughan-Woodbridge. The PCs continued to grow in the legislature claiming 76 seats.

Del Duca stepped down days later and was replaced by interim leader John Fraser, who had previously taken the reigns after Wynne’s resignation.

Without a permanent leader, the Liberals were forced into another leadership race. However, it seems few are interested in taking on the job.

While no candidates have yet to declare their intention to run, several potential candidates have turned down the opportunity.

Incumbent Ottawa—Vanier MPP Lucille Collard, Paramount Fine Foods founder Mohamad Fakih, former Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, and former Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro have all said they will not pursue the role.

Meanwhile, incumbent Scarborough—Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter has set her eyes on the recently vacated Toronto Mayor’s office. The previous Mayor John Tory stepped down after the public revelation of an extramarital affair with a staffer. Hunter is running against 14 other candidates in the June 26 by-election.

A concerted effort from some Liberal MPPs tried to coax Green Leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner to cross the floor and lead them. However, after consulting with his riding Schreiner decided he could do the most good as Green leader.

The latest to decline the leadership is former Mississauga and Brampton MP Navdeep Bains. The former Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry served as Mississauga – Brampton South MP from 2004 to 2011, then MP of the re-distributed Mississauga – Malton riding from 2015 to 2021.

After his second term as MP, he decided not to run again and retired from politics. He has since joined CIBC as Vice-Chair of Global Investment Banking.

While long-floated as a possible leadership candidate, Bains took to Twitter on March 30 to say he wasn’t interested in the role.

“I am grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support and encouragement to seek the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. As I continue to focus on my family, work and community, I look forward to helping rebuild the party as a member, not as a leadership candidate,” he wrote.

Numerous other names remain in the ring for the Liberal’s top job, but no one has yet announced they’re in. Mississauga Mayor and former MP Bonnie Crombie is a perennial favorite topping a recent poll. While she hasn’t ruled out a run she has repeatedly said she remains focused on her current job.

Other favourite potential candidates include;

  • Etobicoke Centre MP Yvan Baker,
  • Former Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua,
  • Orleans MPP Stephen Blais,
  • Don Valley West MPP Stephanie Bowman,
  • Don Valley East MP Michael Coteau (who came second in the 2020 race),
  • Beaches—East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith,
  • Kingston and the Islands MPP Ted Hsu,
  • Beaches—East York MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon,
  • Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi,
  • Don Valley East MPP Dr. Adil Shamji,
  • Former Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault, and
  • Parkdale-High Park MP Arif Virani

The Ontario Liberal leadership election has not set a date yet.

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