Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie will lead the Ontario Liberal Party to regain formal party status at Queen’s Park and challenge Premier Doug Ford in the 2026 election after being elected as the party’s new leader on Saturday. become.
Mr Crombie, who had been seen as the front-runner throughout the campaign, finally reached the threshold of votes needed to become the next party leader late Saturday afternoon, after officials announced the results of the third and final round of voting. did.
The crowd in downtown Toronto cheered and shouted “Bonnie! Bonnie! Bonnie!” After the victory was announced.
“There’s no question that we are the Liberal Party of Ontario,” Crombie said in his victory speech. “Thank you for lighting a spark here today and turning it into a big red flame.”
In addition to defeating Ford, Crombie will make the Liberal Party the official party after a disastrous 2022 election in which the Liberals won just eight seats and leader Stephen Del Duca resigned after just two years in office. I plan to try to restore it to that position.
She defeated Toronto Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP and former provincial cabinet minister Yasir Naqvi, and Liberal MP Ted Hsu.
The Ford government is “in our sights,” Crombie says.
Crombie quickly pivoted his victory speech to the fight against Ford in 2026, criticizing the incumbent premier’s record on health care, education and climate change while pledging to make Ontarians’ lives better.
“Ford and his conservative cronies were the enemy in all our sights throughout the campaign,” she said. “This is our moment.”
As for the party’s next steps, Crombie says the Liberals need to focus on building trust with voters, recruiting candidates who reflect the state and raising money.
He told reporters the PCs were out-funding the Liberals by a “10-to-1” margin.
“We need to focus on fundraising so we can remain competitive in 2026,” she said.
Mr Crombie, who has worked as a business leader, MP and mayor for almost a decade, said today’s win was the greatest honor of his life.
Crombie is popular as Mississauga’s mayor and ran for a third term last October. After the win, Crombie was asked about the Liberals’ prospects in Peel Region, which is currently dominated by the PCs.
“I intend to win every seat in Peel Region,” Mr Crombie said.
Crombie does not have a seat at Queen’s Park. She will consider running for Parliament in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex (the seat vacated in September by former Labor Minister Monte McNaughton), but she will not put her name on the ballot paper. She said she does not promise to include it. Ideally, she would run in Mississauga, she said.
Crombie said he will likely resign as Mississauga’s mayor in the new year.
As mayor of Mississauga, Crombie has been a vocal opponent of Ford’s changes to the way municipalities collect certain fees from developers to fund infrastructure projects, and the Ontario Municipal Association has been a vocal opponent of the move. It has been announced that the local government will be left with a shortfall of $5 billion. The dissolution of Peel Region, where her Toronto-area cities are located.
In her victory speech, Crombie thanked her mentor, the late Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, for teaching her the importance of being a good listener and sound financial steward.
Ford government is already on the attack, NDP congratulates
Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party posted an attack ad on social media minutes after Crombie was elected leader.
“Bonnie and the Liberal Party just don’t understand…they will sacrifice you,” reads an image of Conservative Crombie shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Meet Bonnie Crombie, the newest leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. 👇
Bonnie Crombie and the Ontario Liberal Party don’t understand that. It costs money. pic.twitter.com/XfQHDSI20X
The image includes a bullet point suggesting that a Crombie-led government would see “higher taxes, more traffic congestion and less housing.”
Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles took a different tone, congratulating Crombie on his victory in a post on X.
@BonnieCrombie Congratulations on your new role as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
As you chart a new direction for your party, I look forward to hearing your ideas and contributions to the debate about the future of our great state. #ONpoli
“As you chart a new direction for our party, I look forward to hearing your ideas and contributions to the conversation about the future of our great state,” Stiles said.
After leading in the first and second rounds, Crombie won the third ranked vote, but fell short of the 50% needed to win. She took the lead, scoring about 53 percent of the points needed for her victory, after finishing with 43 percent in the first round and 47 percent in the second round.
Crombie’s team took part in Saturday’s contest and after the first votes were counted, they suggested Crombie could win. However, the race ended closer than expected, with Erskine-Smith finishing with 47 per cent of the points.
The Liberal Party boasted that candidates had registered a record number of members in the leadership election, with more than 100,000 people eligible to vote for the new leader. In the previous two elections, the number was 44,000 and 38,000.
But only a fraction of them voted last weekend, with 22,827 people voting. The party notes that this number is higher than the 12,988 Ontario Liberals who voted in the 2020 leadership election and higher than the 19,438 in 2013.
Timeline of recent Ontario Liberal Party leaders
dalton mcginty1996-2013 — McGuinty announced his resignation in 2012, paving the way for a fierce leadership race.
Kathleen Wynn2013-2018 — Wynne resigned after the party lost to the Progressive Conservatives.
john fraserFrom 2018 to 2020 — Mr Fraser served as interim leader of the party.
Steven Del Duca2020-2022 — Del Duca steps down after the PC defeats the Liberal Party again in the 2022 election.
john fraserfrom 2022 to today — Fraser said he has ruled out a third stint as interim leader.