Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

An invigorating race for the Ontario Liberals, amorphous since the government of Kathleen Wynne.

Analysis | Ontario Liberal Party elects new leader

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From left to right: Ted Hsu, Yasir Naqvi, Bonnie Crombie and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

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The race for the Liberal leadership of Ontario will have been the shock needed to revive a party on life support since the disastrous elections of 2018 and 2022. No matter who leads the red team in the next election, the Liberal Party of Ontario (PLO) is already a winner in this exercise.

After seven months of campaigning, the Ontario Liberals choose their new leader this year of the week.

Facing off against each other are the very popular Mississauga Mayor and former Member of Parliament, Bonnie Crombie, the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Center and former Attorney General of Ontario, Yasir Naqvi, the rather maverick Member of Parliament for Beaches—East York. Toronto, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Kingston and the Islands MLA Ted Hsu. MLA Adil Shamji withdrew after a few weeks to support Ms. Crombie.

Seven months of campaigning means seven months of daily events on the part of the candidates. Seven months to mobilize supporters throughout the province. Above all, seven months to raise almost $2.5 million. Bonnie Crombie's campaign alone raised almost half of this amount.

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Bonnie Crombie has been considered the leader since she entered the race.

Result: the Liberals' bank account is no longer in the red, after paying off debt incurred during last year's elections.

This is an excellent sign of vitality for the Liberal party, says political scientist Geneviève Tellier. It gives them the means to start working for the next electoral campaign and what works in their favor is time.

The new leader will have a little less than three years to build up a war chest for the 2026 election.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The money still has to come from the right people. Crombie's opponents have repeatedly attacked her over donations she received from real estate developers. The same kind of supporters found at the heart of the Greenbelt scandal, which has plagued the Ford government for much of the summer.

How can we expect a different outcome from you than Doug Ford, who gave the Greenbelt to his friends? says Yasir Naqvi to his colleague during a debate in September.

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Yasir Naqvi hopes to be Ontario's first Liberal leader from a visible minority.

The key to success in electoral financing in Ontario, however, is not only large donations, capped at $3,350, but also small contributors, who are willing to give up the equivalent of a monthly subscription to a service every month. online broadcast.

These are the people we need to keep among us, says liberal strategist Ashley Csanady, associated with Mr. Naqvi's campaign. They will give us a small donation every month, but they will also respond and help us during the next election.

In this sense too, the Liberals are winners: 103,206 members can vote for leadership on Saturday and Sunday. Even if only a fraction of these people actually turn out to vote, the number of membership cards sold testifies to the organizational strength of the party.

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The last debate took place in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto, in front of about 150 people.< /p>

This is really where the party will be able to demonstrate its strength, says liberal strategist Pierre Cyr. There are volunteers, structures in each constituency, with people in each region who are responsible for this reconstruction.

An invigorating race which is is deprived of the New Democratic Party earlier this year: new leader Marit Stiles was acclaimed.

Who is in a better position to defeat the Progressive Conservatives? This is the question the entire Liberal leadership campaign has revolved around.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith believes the answer lies on the left of the political spectrum.

We will still deliver victory to Doug Ford if we do not persuade voters further to the left in this province, he argues on Radio-Canada.

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Nate Erskine-Smith wants to rebuild the provincial Liberal Party, which has struggled to recover since its defeat in 2018 by Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives. (Archive photo)

He looks good alone in this shot. The leftward shift of the PLO under Kathleen Wynne, then leader Steven Del Duca, led to catastrophic results in 2018 and 2022: 7 and 8 seats respectively, not even enough to obtain official party status.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">From the outset, the mayor of Mississauga changes her tone: she says she is fiscally responsible, but progressive on a social level.

The key to liberal party is to unify liberals of all political sensibilities, adds Ted Hsu in the language of Molière.

But beyond the platforms, we need a popular and charismatic leader, who can compete with Doug Ford, still very popular despite the setbacks of his government.

The main party seems to have already decided who his Liberal opponent will be: he has been attacking Ms. Crombie on her record as mayor for months. p>Open in full screen mode

Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions from reporters on Friday.

When asked on Friday if he is afraid of Ms Crombie, who expects to win the leadership in the first round according to an internal email from his team sent to journalists, the Prime Minister replied with a broad smile:

Is this a joke?

« Bring it on! »

The invitation is extended. It's the Liberals' turn to respond.

The name of the new leader will be announced on December 2.

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