Bonnie Crombie has officially ended her tenure as the Mayor of Mississauga. As of January 12, 2024, she has officially resigned from the position. Crombie was elected as the Mayor of Mississauga in 2014. Before holding this office, Crombie served as the Ward 5 City Councillor for Mississauga, the Member of Parliament for Mississauga Streetsville, and had a 20-year career in the business sector.
On June 14, 2023, she officially launched her campaign to run for the Ontario Liberal Leadership, and almost six months later, on December 2, was officially named the new Ontario Liberal Leader. Crombie, without question, has been a successful mayor, holding office for 10 years and winning three elections. From this, it is clear that Crombie is a talented politician, especially in municipal politics. But the real question is, with this new Liberal leadership, will she be able to run a successful premiership campaign and become premier? And what will the future hold for Mississauga?
Crombie’s ability to run a successful premiership campaign and her ability to become the next premier of this province is still very much unknown. It goes without saying that the Ontario Liberal Party is struggling. Looking at the last Ontario election in 2022, the party really underperformed. It gained just under 24 per cent of the vote, won only eight seats, came in third, and failed to achieve official party status. As the party currently has only nine members of provincial parliament in the Ontario Legislature, there is no question that Crombie was aware of the party’s status before entering the race. But now, she is the Ontario Liberal Leader. Crombie has a lot of work ahead of her, as she needs to take the Ontario Liberal Party from the bottom to the top to be ready for the 2026 election.
I personally believe that Crombie does have the potential and capability of becoming a challenge to Doug Ford and the Conservatives. One only needs to look at the track record of Crombie when she was the Mayor of Mississauga regarding getting her demands fulfilled from the Ford government. One major demand that Crombie had as mayor was the separation of Mississauga from the Peel Region. The bill was officially named the Hazel McCallion Act, in honor of the former mayor who first started this move.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has not been in favor of this separation. When the separation was announced back in May, Mayor Brown claimed that, with the separation, Mississauga would owe Brampton at least C$1 billion in infrastructure. What is interesting about all of this is that it occurred right before any speculation of Crombie running in the leadership race.
Looking at the days prior to Crombie making her run for the Liberal Leadership official, Premier Doug Ford seemed uneasy about her potential decision to run. On May 24, 2023, Ford made the claim that Crombie running for Liberal Leader was a “slap in the face to Mississauga.” Ford seemed insecure about the whole idea of Crombie even exploring the decision of becoming the liberal leader. He wanted Crombie to resign from her mayoral position before running for Liberal leadership.
When Crombie won the leadership, Ford again seemed insecure about her victory, making various accusations against her. He has accused Crombie of being out of touch with the people, noting her home in the Hamptons and ownership of expensive cars. Crombie denied those claims, saying that she inherited a home from an aunt and uncle in Long Island, New York, and claiming that she does not own a car. The Conservative Party of Ontario has run various ads against Crombie days before any election campaign has started. As such, mockery of an opposing leader is rarely seen by a majority government outside of an election campaign. All the actions of the Conservative Party of Ontario show that Ford and his party seem to be worried about Crombie.
Apart from Crombie, Ford has many other challenges ahead of him. Among them is the recent Greenbelt scandal, in which the Ford government was accused of giving parts of the Greenbelt to investors. This sparked a lot of controversy, which has led to Ford’s cabinet minister, Kaleed Rasheed, resigning from his position. The Greenbelt controversy is an issue that Crombie will raise in the next Ontario election, and one which will come to haunt Ford in the 2026 election.
Overall, looking at the behaviour of Ford from the moment Crombie was still deciding on running for the Liberal race to the moment she became the Liberal leader, it seems that he views her as a threat. And if Ford believes her to be a challenge to his re-election, then Crombie has a shot at becoming our next premier. But what does this mean for Mississauga?
A surprising move after Crombie became Ontario Liberal Leader was that the Ford government backtracked from the Peel Region dissolution. The timing of this was fishy, as this divorce was fixed, and it was all set to go for 2025. But cancelling this divorce right after Crombie took on the role as the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party is quite strange. It seems that in cancelling this divorce, the Ford administration is trying to take some sort of revenge against Crombie.
When in the role of the Mayor of Mississauga, she stated her anger and disappointment in the waste of time and resources. Whereas Brampton’s Mayor Brown seems to be very pleased by the reversal of the decision. But whatever the politics behind this divorce, it seems quite odd for a provincial government to back down from a decision that was already formally announced.
With Crombie’s new role as the new Liberal Leader, it looks like a tough race ahead in the next Ontario election. But with this new role, a vacancy is left in the City of Mississauga, as the city now needs a new mayor. They must fill the position soon. The person who is going to occupy this position will have huge shoes to fill as the city has only seen two mayors in the past 46 years, each of whom has been extremely successful. A formal election has not been announced as of now.
Many big players will possibly put their names forward for the Mayoral position. A key individual in line is Carolyn Parrish, who has been serving as a councillor since 2014, and an MP for more than a decade for Mississauga. The Liaison Strategies poll has suggested that Parrish has the most name recognition. Other Mississauga councillors—Dipika Damerla, Stephen Dusko, and Alvin Tedjo—are also all possible candidates. Peter McCallion, who is the son of the former Mayor Hazel McCallion, also is seriously considering the run. Hence, as for the future of municipal politics, Mississauga seems to have a sufficient candidate list with the departure of Mayor Crombie. The future of the city still looks to be strong and in good hands.