Premier Doug Ford has criticized Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who is considering a bid for the provincial Liberal leadership. Ford believes that Crombie continuing as mayor while campaigning for the Liberal leader would disregard her constituents and be a “slap in the face” to the residents of Mississauga.
Ford expressed his apparent frustration with Crombie’s regional ambitions, stating that they revolve around her political agenda. He argued that her decision to remain in the mayor’s position while pursuing Liberal leadership would mean neglecting the needs of the people she represents. During an unrelated announcement in London, Ontario, Ford made these remarks.
Crombie recently announced the formation of an exploratory committee to assess the possibility of running for the leadership of the beleaguered Ontario Liberals. After two disappointing elections that resulted in the party holding only seven seats in Queen’s Park, Crombie aims to revive the party’s fortunes.
In an interview with CBC Toronto, Crombie positioned herself as a centrist and criticized the Liberals and Ford’s Progressive Conservatives for their ideological extremes. She accused Ford’s government of lacking transparency and accountability and claimed it has underspent on essential public services. Her campaign website emphasizes the need for change and expresses concern over the current government’s direction.
While considering a leadership bid, Crombie intends to continue serving as the mayor of Mississauga. She plans to reduce her attendance at certain events but remain engaged with her constituents. Crombie highlighted that she attends numerous events each weekend and multiple events every evening, but some will be scaled back to allow for interactions with Ontarians.
Crombie emphasized that she would take it if she decided to enter the race and required time off. However, she believes resigning from her mayoral position would be unfair when she is unsure about her candidacy and the outcome.
CBC Toronto contacted Crombie’s office for a response to Ford’s comments, but no response has been provided.
The deadline for Liberal leadership candidates to register is September 5. Contestants must pay a non-refundable entry fee of $100,000 and a refundable deposit of $25,000. Party members will vote through a ranked ballot system on November 25 and 26, and the Liberals will announce their new leader on December 2.
Despite previous disagreements, particularly regarding Bill 23 and its potential impact on Ontario municipalities’ finances, which led Ford to refer to Crombie as one of the “whiners and complainers” among municipal leaders, the premier’s recent comments marked a notable escalation. Just days earlier, during a May 15 announcement in which Crombie was present, Ford largely deflected questions about her potential leadership candidacy, emphasizing his focus on working with local leaders to advance their interests.
Furthermore, Ford’s government recently announced plans to dissolve the Peel Region by 2025. This move would affect Mississauga and the neighbouring municipalities of Brampton, a long-standing issue that Crombie and former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion have both opposed.
In light of these circumstances, Ford suggested that Crombie “go for it” and pursue the leadership bid, indicating his preference for a new mayor in Mississauga.
The decision to maintain positions while running for other offices is not uncommon. This week, it was announced that Toronto city councillor Gary Crawford intends to seek the party’s nomination for an upcoming Scarborough election, clarifying that he will continue to serve on the city council during the campaign.
Overall, the tension between Ford and Crombie underscores the evolving political landscape as leadership aspirations and potential shifts in party dynamics emerge in Ontario.
Ford’s recent comments regarding Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s potential bid for the Liberal leadership signal a notable change in tone. Just a week ago, Ford avoided directly addressing Crombie’s aspirations, emphasizing his commitment to collaborating with local leaders. However, Ford encouraged Crombie to pursue the leadership bid on Wednesday, suggesting that Mississauga would benefit from a new mayor.
The strained relationship between Ford and Crombie has been evident in the past, particularly during debates over Bill 23 and its potential impact on municipal finances. Ford previously referred to Crombie as a mayor who was “whining and complaining” about the bill’s effects on housing development.
Despite their disagreements, it is common for politicians to continue in their current roles while running for other positions. This week, the Progressive Conservatives announced that Toronto city councillor Gary Crawford would run for the party in a forthcoming Scarborough byelection. Crawford will maintain his position on the city council throughout the campaign.
The tension between Ford and Crombie underscores the evolving dynamics and leadership aspirations in Ontario’s political landscape. Their recent exchange demonstrates the shifting dynamics within the province.