Sep 15, 2023
By Jane Brown
The first of five official debates for the next Ontario Liberal leader was held last night in Thunder Bay.
Several of the five candidates took aim at perceived front runner Bonnie Crombie, including Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi, who called out Mississauga’s mayor for saying early in the campaign she would be open to Greenbelt land swaps in certain circumstances.
“I think in this race you should be looking at which leadership candidate’s instinct has been,” Naqvi explained, “If your instinct has been to say that you’re open to landswapping (the) Greenbelt and then putting out a statement the next day, you misspoke, then think about that.”
In response, Crombie defended her record and Mississauga’s record on housing, and also tried to change the conversation to what a Liberal government would offer Ontario residents.
“We are going to have a policy platform that will speak to issues across the province. We are going to track the best candidates, we’re going to raise a war chest and look out Doug Ford because we’re coming for you in 2026,” said Crombie.
The importance of healthcare and long term care also received a lot of attention during the debate.
The other three candidates are Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, and Liberal MPPs Ted Hsu and Adil Shamji.