Sep 12, 2023
By Jane Brown
The race to lead Ontario’s Liberals into the 2026 provincial election is heating up with party representatives boasting more than 80-thousand members now eligible to vote for their next leader in November.
In 2020, there were 38,000 members and 44,000 in 2013 for previous leadership contests.
The five candidates hoping to unseat Doug Ford are preparing for their first debate this Thursday night.
They are Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi, MPP Adil Shamji and MPP Ted Hsu, who says he’s looking forward to being on stage with his rivals.
“I think it’s going to tell a lot about the candidates. It’ll be the first time thousands of members will tune in and watch the debate…so there will be some fireworks there,” Hsu explained.
Ontario’s Liberals are boosted by summer byelection wins in the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Guildwood and the PC stronghold of Kanata-Carleton, coupled with the premier’s drop in the polls over the $8.3-billion Greenbelt scandal.