THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Candidates in the Ontario Liberal Party’s race to become the next leader kicked off the first official debate by taking aim at perceived front-runner Bonnie Crombie.
MP Nate Erskine-Smith, MP and former provincial cabinet minister Yasir Naqvi, and Ted Hsu, a former Liberal MP and current provincial caucus member, all offered criticisms, both veiled and not so veiled, of the Mississauga mayor.
The three variously brought up donations she has taken from developers, her track record on housing as mayor, and statements that she would be open to Greenbelt land swaps in certain circumstances.
In return, Crombie said she is proud of Mississauga’s track record on housing, and added that she has had the opportunity to go “toe to toe” with Premier Doug Ford on many occassions and she knows she rankles him.
Ford’s decision to open parts of the protected Greenbelt lands for housing development loomed large in the debate, with many candidates using it as an example of why voters will be looking to vote for someone other than his Progressive Conservatives in the next election.
Current provincial caucus member Adil Shamji made his pitch in the opening statements by leaning heavily on his experience as an emergency room physician.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.
The Canadian Press