Following nearly four decades under Hazel McCallion’s leadership, Mississauga has elected a new mayor. Winning with 63.49% support, mayor-elect Bonnie Crombie defeated fellow frontrunner Steve Mahoney and 13 other candidates vying for the city’s top job.
“Thank you, Mississauga,” said Crombie, shouting over the crowd at the Crombie victory party held on election night. “I am truly honoured and overwhelmed.”
A current city councillor representing Mississauga’s Ward 5, Crombie is a U of T alumna, former businesswoman, and former Member of Parliament representing Mississauga Streetsville.
“You made a choice to vote for the future and a bold new vision for our city,” said Crombie. “You voted to move Mississauga forward, and as your mayor, I will do just that.”
Although polls reported a neck-and-neck race between Crombie and Mahoney for much of the campaign, Crombie came out on top with 56,122 votes ahead of Mahoney on election night. According to a Forum Research poll published on September 27—exactly one month before election day—Mahoney led the pack of 15 mayoral contenders with 40% support, while Crombie trailed closely behind at 36%. The polls drastically changed following McCallion’s endorsement of Crombie’s platform.
“I have every confidence […] that you will vote for Bonnie Crombie,” said the 93-year-old McCallion in a video published by Crombie’s campaign. “She’s ambitious, she works hard, she’s got some new ideas.”
Following McCallion’s endorsement, Crombie’s support increased by 20%, garnering 56% support in the polls, leading far ahead of Mahoney’s 31%.
On election night, Mahoney, a previous Mississauga city councillor, Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, and chair of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board, took in 28.68% of votes, according to the official election results.
“This is democracy, and as painful as it can be, the reality is that there’s always got to be a winner and a loser,” said Mahoney on election night. “This was a clear decisive decision and the fact is we have a new mayor for the first time in 36 years, and regardless of who that is, I think that’s a good thing.”
On campus, the City of Mississauga, UTMSU, and UTM administration collaborated to encourage students and Mississauga youth to engage with the political process and cast their ballot in a variety of media. Among other activities, students were encouraged to participate in a citywide contest using the hashtag #IVoteBecause on social media to explain why they take part in the elections. The city also placed an ad in The Medium.
“The City of Mississauga placed particular emphasis on targeting the youth demographic in this year’s election,” said Ashley Travassos, the city’s communications advisor. According to Travassos, the city wanted young voters to exercise their democratic rights due to low youth voter turnout in he previous federal and provincial elections.
On election day, students residing on campus were able to vote at a campus polling station intended for 126 registered voters. Of these 126, four votes were cast.
The citywide voter turnout gradually improved over the 2010 municipal election, which saw 34.34% voter turnout among all eligible voters. This year’s figure was 36.57%.
Crombie and the rest of the Mississauga City Council will be sworn into office on December 1. Mayor McCallion’s 36-year service will end on November 30.