Liberal Charles Sousa wins Mississauga federal by-election


Published December 12, 2022 at 10:56 pm

Mississauga – Lakeshore residents have a new member of parliament in Liberal Charles Sousa.

The riding went to the polls today to replace Sven Spengemann, their Liberal MP since 2015. Spengemann stepped down from the seat in May to take on a job at the United Nations.

The party then tapped Sousa to run for the seat. Sousa grew up in Mississauga and pursued a decades-long career with RBC. He first entered politics in 2003 working on Toronto Mayor John Tory’s first unsuccessful election campaign.

Next Sousa challenged incumbent Mississauga South MP Paul Szabo for the Liberal nomination in the 2004 race but lost the tight campaign. He ran for a federal seat again in 2006 but was also unsuccessful.

After that Sousa switched gears to Queen’s Park and was elected as MPP of Mississauga-South with the Dalton McGuinty government. He narrowly defeated incumbent Tim Peterson who crossed the floor from the Liberals to the Progressive Conservatives.

Sousa held the riding in the 2011 and 2014 elections. He served as the minister of three portfolios during his tenure; Labour, Citizenship and finally Finance after Kathleen Wynne took over as premier.

In that role he led five deficient budgets and one balanced budget. His efforts on the portfolio led to a new federal deal to boost the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Ontario had pushed for an expanded CPP as studies showed Canadians were not saving enough for retirement.

As a result Sousa and the Wynne Government proposed the creation of an Ontario pension plan as the Harper government was unwilling to discuss a CPP expansion. The Federal government later changed course and expanded CPP.

He also spearheaded the Trillium Trust, the largest provincial infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history a $160 billion over 12 years.

A passion project for Sousa during his tenure holding Ontario’s pursestrings was increased regulation n predatory lending from payday loan providers, credit unions, mortgage brokers, provincial pension plans and provincially registered insurers/ This prompted the creation of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

In 2018, Sousa lost the seat to PC Randy Cuzzetto in an election that saw the Liberals whittled down to just seven MPPs and losing official party status.

After Spengemann, who Sousa had supported in earlier elections, resigned Sousa was soon named the Liberal candidate. He faced off against Khaled Al-Sudani of the People’s Party, Rhinoceros Party founder Sébastien CoRhino, Ron Chhinzer for the Conservatives, Mary Kidnew with the Greens, and NDP candidate Julia Kole NDP.

In addition to the six party affiliated candidates, 33 independents also ran for the seat as part of the Longest Ballot Committee to protest the Liberal’s abandonment of the 2015 campaign promise of election reform.

This makes this by-election the most contested in Canadian history setting record of 40 candidates for a single seat.

However despite the many candidates the riding has been a Liberal strong hold for 30 years. Liberals have held the seat since 1993, except between the Stephen Harper Conservative majority years from 2011 to 2015.

However, many saw this by-election as a test for newly elected Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre to see how his leadership is being perceived by the hotly contested GTA ridings.

Mississauga – Lakeshore was seen as a Liberal-Conservative toss-up not two weeks ago. However, following an appearance from Trudeau at Sousa’s campaign office, the Liberal began to take the lead. Just hours before the election polling firm 338 gave the Liberals a more than 80 per cent chance to keep the riding.

The prediction was accurate with Sousa taking 53.5 per cent of the vote with 32 per cent of polls reporting as of 11 p.m.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising