Bonnie Crombie seeks Ontario Liberal leadership


Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
Bonnie Crombie seeks Ontario Liberal leadership, denounces Doug Ford
Crombie says she's running for the Liberal leadership to replace Doug Ford.

Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Published May 22, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
After securing Mississauga's split from Brampton, Mayor Crombie looks to take over Ontario's Liberal Party and take on Premier Doug Ford.
After securing Mississauga's split from Brampton, Mayor Crombie looks to take over Ontario's Liberal Party and take on Premier Doug Ford. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
After securing Mississauga’s divorce from Brampton, Bonnie Crombie is looking to trade up from mayor to premier. Crombie is seeking the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party.

A campaign website launched Monday morning explains why she is running and attacks Premier Doug Ford, who just granted Crombie’s wish to see Mississauga split from Peel Region.

“I’m a centrist by nature. I’m socially progressive, but fiscally responsible,” the website states. “Ontario is a tipping point. We cannot afford more of what this government has done over the past five years.”

The website wasn’t up for long though and was taken down shortly after the Sun contacted Crombie for comment about the site.

The 63-year-old former MP has been mayor of Ontario’s third-largest city since 2014. With deep roots in both federal and provincial Liberal circles, Crombie would be a formidable contender for the post and a strong foe for Ford.

The question: Why on earth would Crombie want to run?

She’s just been given something she has longed for, taking Mississauga out of Peel Region and making it an independent city. When that takes effect on January 1, 2025, Crombie would also have the strong mayor powers that the province has already granted to Toronto and Ottawa.

Last October, Crombie handily won re-election in Mississauga and chances are — like her predecessor Hazel McCallion — she could have a long career in that office. Unlike McCallion, she would have an independent city and powers previous mayors have campaigned to get for years.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has set her sights on becoming the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
Giving up the job before having a chance to guide Mississauga into its next chapter seems like an odd choice. It’s a choice made even odder when you look at the job she’d be leaving the mayor’s chair to seek.

There is no seat for the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in the legislature at Queen’s Park, meaning no income beyond what the party can pay Crombie to replace her current salary of roughly $200,000 for serving as mayor and as a regional councillor for Peel. Right now, the Ontario Liberal Party is broke; they haven’t been able to turn around their fundraising and Elections Ontario data shows that the PC Party outperforms the Liberals in donations across all of Mississauga — and has for years.

Sure, Crombie could add new spark and excitement to the party. Her years of organizing for Liberal politicians, going back decades, would bring valuable experience and strength to the party, but would she have a chance to topple Ford?

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie put out this statement as part of the reason she is running to become the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie put out this statement as part of the reason she is running to become the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
A week is a lifetime in politics, so in three years anything can happen. But to say the Ontario Liberal Party is broken would be an understatement. If Crombie runs and wins, the work to rebuild what was the dominant party in provincial politics from 2003 through 2018 would be formidable.

This at a time when provincial Liberal parties, from Quebec to British Columbia, have become quaint distant memories or relics that no longer contest for power.

In the last two elections, the Ontario Liberals have failed to win official party status, meaning that technically, every MPP under the Liberal banner at Queen’s Park is considered an independent. The party won seven seats in 2018 with 19.5% of the popular vote and in 2022 won eight seats with 23.8% of the vote province wide.

Going from third to first would be a difficult but not impossible task; it’s what Justin Trudeau did federally in 2015 to the surprise of everyone, including many Liberals.

What would help Crombie in that task is something Trudeau didn’t have, an ineffective NDP leader heading up the official opposition. Marit Stiles just took over her party’s leadership earlier this year and to be blunt, has failed to launch.

Her attempts to generate buzz and take on the Ford government have been the same collection of tired issues that dominated the NDP’s campaign in 2022, the one that saw the party lose nine seats, many of them in long time NDP strongholds that went to Ford’s PC Party, including in Hamilton, Windsor and Timmins.

Crombie obviously sees that Stiles is weak and is hopeful that in three years, Ford is either weakened himself, has retired or has left Queen’s Park to try his luck at the federal level.

There are a lot of arguments for why Crombie shouldn’t make this move, but there are many in favour, as well.


Hall of Fame Member
Sep 6, 2015
Olympus Mons
“I’m a centrist by nature. I’m socially progressive, but fiscally responsible,” the website states."

Well technically, that makes you a Progressive Conservative.
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Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
Bonnie Crombie looks to recover after clumsy Liberal leadership launch
The entire narrative of the website is now different from what had been posted earlier

Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Published May 23, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has set her sights on becoming the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
To say that the launch of Bonnie Crombie’s leadership bid for the Ontario Liberal Party didn’t go as planned would be an understatement.

Crombie’s carefully planned launch with a positive piece in the Liberal friendly Toronto Star on Tuesday morning was interrupted by the Toronto Sun crashing the party.

Rumours of Crombie running have been floating since last June’s disastrous provincial election results for the Liberals. The party once again failed to win enough seats to earn official party status after 15 years of running the province.

Crombie’s name has been raised since the June 2 vote, but she went forward to run again as mayor of Mississauga, a position she has held since 2014, when the October municipal elections came around.

Yet despite connected Liberals dismissing her ambition as a politician just enjoying their name being out in the public, the drumbeat grew louder. Even two weeks ago, as Crombie was holding court at the federal Liberal convention, one plugged in Lib said, “She tells one person she’s running and the next that she’s not.”

Still, by this past weekend, chatter of Crombie’s pending announcement went from a whisper to a scream.

Tuesday was the day Crombie would announce her intentions, seemed to be the popular wisdom. One Liberal texted early Monday to say, “Hearing she might actually make it official tonight.”

Asked directly about all the speculation about her jumping into the race, Crombie neither confirmed nor denied that an announcement was coming.

“Hi Brian, lots of speculation. Have a great day. Bonnie,” read the text.

A short time later, a key Liberal shared Crombie’s campaign website which had just gone live. Under a section titled “Why I’m Running,” Crombie explained that she has heard from people across the province on issues like health care, education and affordability.

“Under this government they have made things worse through cutbacks and underfunding of key public services,” Crombie said.

A quick text to Crombie had a reply that seemed surprised and ended up with the website shutdown.

“Hmmm. Not sure who put that up. Let me check,” Crombie texted.

A short time later, the website was down. Obviously, this was the official website of the Crombie campaign, and it went live early. So early. in fact, that it skipped over the whole charade that she wasn’t running and was just setting up an “exploratory committee.”

After sitting dormant for several hours, Crombie’s website went live again late Monday but instead of explaining why she is running to be Ontario’s next Liberal leader, it explained why she is considering the idea including listing the names of 40 current and former MPs, MPPs, candidates and party activists.

“I’m the only person thinking about putting their name forward who has governing experience and who has gone toe-to-toe with the Ford government,” the website stated.

The entire narrative of the website was different from what had been posted for several hours earlier in the day.

It’s not the launch Crombie wanted, it’s not the launch that her team carefully mapped out. Instead of sprinting out of the gate, she stumbled.

There’s no doubt she can and will recover from this clumsy start, though her opponents will hope this is a trend rather than a one-off.

Crombie will be a formidable candidate in the Ontario Liberal leadership. Her entry immediately changes the calculus of the existing candidates – MPP Ted Hsu and MPs Yasir Naqvi and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

If she wins – not a sure thing – she will be a formidable opponent for Doug Ford despite not having a seat in the legislature.

The politician who should feel the most immediate threat from a Crombie win would be Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles, who has failed to launch since taking over party leadership earlier this year. Unlike Stiles, Crombie knows how to command the attention of the media.

One thing is clear, Crombie’s entry just made a slowly plodding leadership race much more interesting.


Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
Crombie stumbles, backtracks in her first week of Liberal leadership race
Will the real Bonnie Crombie please stand up?

Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Published May 29, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
Ontario Liberal voters would be right to ask who the real Bonnie Crombie is.

Will the real Bonnie Crombie please stand up?

We aren’t a full week into the Mississauga mayor’s official campaign to become leader of Ontario’s Liberal Party and she’s already in trouble. First, she had her failure to launch over the Victoria Day long weekend.

In that instance, her team prematurely posted her campaign website saying that she was running for leader, only to take it down when contacted for comment by The Toronto Sun.

Later that day, a new website went up, but this one didn’t say she was running, it said she was exploring a run for the leadership.

Last Tuesday, Crombie did a series of interviews on her “prospective” run and laid out where she would fit into Ontario’s political landscape. In several interviews, she said that she was a centrist and especially on fiscal issues would govern from the centre-right.

That’s been fertile ground for successful Canadian Liberals like Jean Chretien — prime minister for a decade — or Dalton McGuinty, who was Ontario’s premier for nine years. Crombie’s comments had a lot of centrist Liberals in Ontario nodding in agreement, thinking she was on the right path.

One of her opponents in the Ontario Liberal leadership race, federal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, thought she was on the wrong path and said so.

“I’m not leaving a progressive federal Liberal Party to protect an unambitious status quo. If I lead the Ontario Liberals, we won’t govern from the centre-right,” he posted online.

That was enough to snap Crombie back into the progressive line and have surrogates disavow her claims of leading from the centre-right in a fiscally responsible manner. On Friday morning, the Queen’s Park Observer, an insider newsletter covering all things provincial, quoted a Crombie confidant saying she was overwhelmed with the media attention and misspoke.

“It was like trying to drink from a fire hose,” the source close to Crombie to the Observer. “Ninety-nine-point-nine per cent of them, she was on. But even the most polished politician that you put through that type of grinder — it’s a lot to ask of them.”

So much for Crombie being the front-runner if she’s adjusting her stance based on the tweets of someone her supporters claim she will easily beat.

And if that is how she reacts to the tweet of a lone MP, will Crombie be able to withstand the onslaught of attacks that will come her way if she wins the Ontario Liberal leadership and has to take on Doug Ford’s Big Blue Machine?

There is no doubt that Crombie is a formidable presence in GTA politics. She’s been mayor of Mississauga, the third-largest city in Ontario, since 2014, and was previously the MP for Mississauga—Streetsville.

Here’s the thing, though: while that gets you lots of headlines in Toronto-area media, it doesn’t win you votes in Timmins, in Ottawa, in Hamilton, Chatham, Sarnia or Thunder Bay. To win the leadership of the Liberal Party, you need to win in those locations.

Crombie launched her “exploratory committee” with a lot of names from the past centred in and around the GTA who will back her but won’t necessarily be selling memberships.

By contrast, Yasir Naqvi, the MP for Ottawa Centre — a former MPP for that same constituency and a one-time president of the Ontario Liberal Party — will launch his leadership bid this coming Saturday. In addition to events in Ottawa and Mississauga on the same day, sources say that Naqvi will launch with 70 on-the-ground field organizers, not a list of people who once did things for the party.

Over this past weekend, Ted Hsu officially launched his campaign in front of hundreds of supporters in Kingston, including Rob Baker, guitarist of The Tragically Hip. Hsu is a former MP turned MPP with connections across eastern Ontario.

Finally, Erskine-Smith has already officially registered and, like Crombie, has a base in the GTA but comes from the progressive side of the party which at this point seems dominant.

While Crombie brings name recognition for the Toronto-based media and an apparent star power, there is no guarantee that she can or will win the Ontario Liberal leadership race.

Especially if she continues to stumble like she did last week.