Newly elected Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie says she plans to resign as mayor of Mississauga “early in the new year.”
She made the announcement during a news conference after winning the leadership race on Saturday.
Crombie said she wanted to wrap up the city and Peel Region’s budget and “a few things in Mississauga” before stepping down.
“I will think early in the new year. I’ll come to a date based on what’s mutually convenient, and look forward,” she said.
Crombie has been the mayor of Mississauga since 2014. Before that, she served as a city councillor and a Liberal MP.
She took a leave of absence from the mayor’s office to focus on her bid to become leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. However, as she had indicated, Crombie returned from her leave of absence as mayor to take part in the city’s budget process.
A spokesperson for the City of Mississauga, Crombie is not required to resign if she becomes a member of the provincial parliament as her seat would automatically be declared vacant per the Municipal Act.
But if the mayor resigns, city council must declare the seat vacant at the next possible meeting after receiving her resignation. After that, the council will have 60 days to pass a bylaw requiring a byelection.
The spokesperson said staff would then prepare a report outlining the timing for the vote.
During her news conference, Crombie said she would meet with party officials to plan the next steps.
“With respect to a seat, I think what’s very important is that I continue to work on the road, continue… meeting people in the small towns and communities that feel isolated and abandoned and neglected by this government,” she said.
“If a (provincial) seat presents itself that makes sense, I’ll consider it.”
Crombie’s forthcoming resignation would come at a critical time in the city as it prepares to separate from Peel Region – something she and her predecessor, Hazel McCallion, had advocated for years.
On Friday, Crombie reaffirmed her commitment to Mississauga’s independence after the city of Brampton, citing “independent data,” claimed that the dissolution of the region would create serious financial hardship and uncertainty for the residents of the three municipalities, including a significant tax increase.
The City of Brampton added that the break up “could risk and negatively impact the stewardship of assets and services offered to citizens across all three municipalities, including essential and critical emergency services.”
In a statement, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown asked the province to revisit its decision to dissolve Peel Region.
“We never asked for the Region of Peel to be dissolved. We have always asked for redundancy to be removed,” he said.
“The dissolution financial train wreck would be an albatross around the necks of taxpayers in Peel Region.”
Crombie called Brampton’s report “nothing more than a political stunt,” saying that none of the figures have been validated by the transition board, the City of Mississauga, the Region of Peel or Caledon.
“The only reason I can think that Mayor Brown wants to keep the Region intact is so that Mississauga taxpayers can continue to subsidize Brampton’s growth, something we’ve been doing for nearly 50 years,” she said in a statement.
“Mississauga remains committed to seeing through this transition in an orderly and transparent manner. The time for politics is over. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and ensure we deliver the best deal for our taxpayers.”
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