New mayor in town, but she hasn’t taken reins of power in Mississauga just yet


Published June 11, 2024 at 10:39 am

Mississauga's new mayor.

Carolyn Parrish has traded in her old Ward 5 council seat for the key to the mayor’s office in Mississauga, but she hasn’t taken the reins of power just yet.

And it’s not clear when, exactly, she will.

The longtime politician who’s served on Mississauga city council for 13 years in addition to the same amount of time spent as an MP in Ottawa won last night’s mayoral byelection in Canada’s seventh-largest city by what turned out to be a comfortable margin over a trio of current city councillors.

City of Mississauga unofficial election results, with all polls reporting, show Parrish topped a largest-ever field of 20 candidates for the city’s top seat by garnering 43,494 votes.

Mississauga councillors Alvin Tedjo (35,005), Dipika Damerla (27,119) and Stephen Dasko (22,408) finished second through fourth, respectively, in the race to succeed Bonnie Crombie, who left in January to lead the Ontario Liberal Party.

City officials said in a news release issued late Monday night all results, including those from the Ward 5 Council race to replace Parrish, are unofficial.

“Official results will be certified by the city clerk and announced in the coming days,” a spokesperson said in the release.

From there, the mayor-elect and winner of the Ward 5 seat, Natalie Hart (3,707 votes in a field of 15 candidates), will take their oaths of office at a date yet to be determined.

The swearing-in date will be scheduled in consultation with the city clerk, officials added.

Two city councillors reveal intentions to succeed Crombie as Mississauga mayor.

Former Ward 5 Coun. Carolyn Parrish has been elected seventh mayor of Mississauga.

According to numbers from the city, more than 138,500 people cast ballots in the byelection, including some 24,600 in two weekends of advance polling.

Unofficial voter turnout has been pegged at 25.71 per cent, up from 21.84 per cent turnout in the 2022 municipal election. In the 2018 election, about 27 per cent of voters turned out to cast ballots.

David Shaw, who has previously run for mayor, was a distant fifth (2,843 votes) in the race while Brian Crombie, ex-husband of Bonnie Crombie, was sixth (2,242).

Parrish resigned from the Ward 5 council seat in March to run for mayor. That vacancy on council was also filled in Monday night’s byelection.

Speaking to reporters and supporters at the Mississauga Convention Centre after the race had been decided Monday night, Parrish said she wasn’t overly concerned by recent polls that showed her three main competitors appeared to be closing the gap on her.

Parrish had led more comfortably in earlier polling before deciding a month or so ago she wasn’t going to take part in any additional all-candidates debates.

The seventh mayor in Mississauga’s history (fifth since Mississauga officially became a city in 1974) said among her immediate priorities are joining forces with Brampton and Caledon mayors to push senior levels of government for more social services dollars and working with developers and others to get much-needed affordable housing built faster in Mississauga.

“The region (of Peel) is going to be stronger now because you’re going to have three mayors that actually get along,” Parrish said during her victory speech Monday night. “And we will be formidable when we go to Queen’s Park or to Ottawa to tell them we need our fair share of funding here (in Peel).

“As you all know, I can be quite charming,” she quipped, the remark eliciting the expected laughter from the crowd. “And you also know I can be quite forceful. We’re going to mix charm and force and we’re going to take over the world.”

Parrish is Mississauga’s seventh mayor, following Robert Speck (1968-72), Chic Murray (1972-73), Martin Dobkin (1973-76), Ron Searle (1976-78), Hazel McCallion (1978-2014) and Bonnie Crombie (2014-24).

She’ll serve as mayor for the remainder of the current term of council, which continues until fall 2026.

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