Mar 01, 2023

By Jane Brown

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While Bonnie Crombie is not saying if she’s entertaining the idea of running as leader of the Ontario Liberals, some in the party are said to be excited about the prospect.

Currently Mississauga’s mayor, Crombie is expected to attend the Liberals’ convention this weekend in Hamilton, which will be attended by some 1500 delegates.

According to the Toronto Star, Crombie, who was re-elected last October with 77.1 per cent of the vote, is being encouraged to jump to provincial politics to challenge Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives in 2026.

The Toronto Star report also quotes a high-ranking Progressive Conservative official, who is said to have spoken confidentially to reveal private conversations, confirmed Crombie is the one potential Liberal candidate who concerns the premier.

“She’s the only one who gets inside his head,” said a PC insider, conceding Crombie is effective at pushing Ford’s buttons on issues like municipal development charges and Mississauga’s bid to break away from Peel Region.

Tension between the two politicians was palpable Monday at AstraZeneca’s Mississauga headquarters, where they were in attendance with the prime minister for the pharmaceutical giant’s announcement of 500 new jobs there.

Crombie has sparred with the premier over his civic reforms that she warns would hurt city coffers, so much so he called her out publicly on December 7th of last year.

“We have a few mayors that don’t want to play in the sandbox and one being Mayor Crombie, and I don’t know what her issue is,” Ford complained before telling her to “stop whining.”

After the premier’s comments, the mayor issued a lengthy statement emphasizing she was not whining, but “stand(ing) up for our residents and taxpayers” against the Tories’ municipal changes.

Crombie served as a federal Liberal member of parliament from 2008 to 2011.

Some 40 Ontario Liberals recently tried to woo Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner to cross the party and run for the leadership.

Schreiner considered the request but ultimately said he decided to stay as a Green MPP and the party’s leader where he feels he can do the most good.

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