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Signage at the Ontario Liberal Party's 2023 Annual Meeting in Hamilton, Ont. The party is set to announce its new leader on Dec. 2.Alex Lupul/The Canadian Press

The Ontario Liberals announced Bonnie Crombie as the new leader of the party on Dec. 2, replacing Steven Del Duca, who resigned after the party failed to secure enough seats to regain official party status in last year’s election (it needed 12 seats and only secured seven). The Ontario Legislature’s third party has seen massive defeats in the past two elections – which were won by the Progressive Conservatives – after spending 15 years in office.

The results saw Ms. Crombie win on the third ballot with 53.4 per cent of the available points in the race, compared with 46.6 per cent for Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith.

A revival of the Ontario Liberal Party will have to wait until the next provincial election, which will likely be held in 2026, but these are the people who ran in the leadership race.

Bonnie Crombie

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Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie stands on stage with supporters at a rally in Mississauga, Ont. as she announces her Ontario Liberal Leadership candidacy.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Age: 63

Current role: Mississauga mayor

Who is she?

Ms. Crombie has been the mayor of Mississauga since 2014, and was a federal Liberal MP for Mississauga–Streetsville from 2008 to 2011. She was re-elected for her third mayoral term last year with almost 80 per cent of the vote. She has been pushing for the city to become independent over the past few years, and that became a reality in May when Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the province’s plan to dissolve the Region of Peel. In May, Ms. Crombie said she would form an “exploratory committee” of political strategists to consider a leadership bid for the provincial Liberals. She submitted her leadership registration on June 13, and launched her campaign the following day at a rally in Mississauga.

What issues did she run on?

During a round of media interviews in May, Ms. Crombie described herself as “right of centre” but quickly backtracked and said she misspoke. She subsequently said she is a “centrist,” saying that she meant the Ontario Liberals have veered too far left. She said she would reconnect the party with voters from rural areas and centre-right voters if she becomes leader. Ms. Crombie has said she remains opposed to Mr. Ford’s plan to build the proposed Highway 413, which would arc through protected farmland around Toronto from its west. But she told The Globe that she’s open to swapping out portions of protected Greenbelt land for development as long as there are what she considers proper consultations. She also has not committed to undoing Mr. Ford’s controversial “strong mayor” legislation or his 2018 reduction of the number of councillors at Toronto City Hall.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

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Nathaniel Erskine-Smith was the first person to officially launch a leadership bid for Ontario’s Liberal Party, saying he’s running to rebuild the provincial party.Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press

Age: 39

Current role: Liberal MP for federal electoral district Beaches – East York

Who is he?

Mr. Erskine-Smith is the Liberal MP for the riding of Beaches – East York. He has been elected to the House of Commons three times since the 2015 federal election. The former lawyer attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. and completed his Master of Laws degree at the University of Oxford in England. Mr. Erskine-Smith was the first person to officially launch a leadership bid for Ontario’s Liberal Party on May 6, saying he’s running to rebuild the provincial party.

What issues did he run on?

Mr. Erskine-Smith said in a video announcing his leadership bid that he will focus on issues such as access to health care, senior care, mental health and addictions, climate change and wealth inequality. He recently stated his opposition to the Premier’s plan to develop certain parts of protected Greenbelt land, tweeting: “Liberals created the Greenbelt. As leader, I will work to protect it.”

Yasir Naqvi

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On June 2, Yasir Naqvi officially launched his leadership campaign for the Ontario Liberal Party.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Age: 50

Current role: Liberal MP for federal electoral district Ottawa Centre

Who is he?

Mr. Naqvi is a former attorney-general who served as both corrections and labour minister in Kathleen Wynne’s government. His family settled in Niagara Falls after arriving from Karachi, Pakistan, when Mr. Naqvi was 15. His parents became members of the local Liberal Party association. Mr. Naqvi became president of the Ontario Liberal Party in 2007. He lost his seat to the NDP in 2018, and was elected federally in 2021 in Ottawa Centre. On June 2, he officially launched his leadership campaign for the Ontario Liberal Party.

What issues did he run on?

Mr. Naqvi said he plans to focus his campaign on three key areas: the economy, education and health care. He told The Globe that he wants to find the “economic opportunity” in fighting climate change, and to rebuild the education and health systems, noting a lack of family doctors and eroding capacity in emergency rooms. He also opposes the Ford government’s move to carve out parts of the protected Greenbelt lands, calling it the “lazy solution” to building more housing, and Mr. Ford’s plan to build Highway 413, but said he wouldn’t cancel the highway project.

Ted Hsu

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Liberal MP Ted Hsu officially launched his Liberal leadership campaign on May 28.Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Age: 59

Current role: Ontario Liberal MPP for provincial electoral district Kingston and the Islands

Who is he?

Mr. Hsu has been the MPP for Kingston and the Islands since the 2022 Ontario provincial election. He formerly served as federal Liberal MP for the Kingston and the Islands riding from 2011 to 2015, but chose not to run for re-election so he could spend more time with his family. Mr. Hsu officially launched his Liberal leadership campaign on May 28 in Kingston, Ont., and was joined on stage by guitarist Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip.

What issues did he run on?

Mr. Hsu has said he wants to give his party a “fresh start” with Ontarians and help Liberals earn back the trust of voters. On Twitter, Mr. Hsu stated his stance on the Greenbelt, saying he stands “behind the Greenbelt in the way that it was intended to be: preserved” and he will “protect the Greenbelt.”

Dates to watch from the Ontario Liberal leadership election

Sept. 5

The deadline for the Ontario Liberals leadership candidate registration. Candidates must have an entry fee of $100,000 and a refundable $25,000 deposit.

Sept. 11

The final day for new members to join the party and be eligible to vote in the leadership election, except for members of student clubs, who have until Sept. 26.

Sept. 14

The first of five leadership debates will be held in Thunder Bay, followed by Oct. 1 in Stratford, Oct. 24 in Toronto, Nov. 8 in Ottawa and either Nov. 18 or 19 in Brampton.

Nov. 25 to 26

Party members will cast their votes by ranked ballot. Earlier this year, Liberal members voted to scrap the party’s use of delegated conventions and instead use direct voting with a ranked ballot.

Dec. 2

The Ontario Liberals will announce the round-by-round results and new leader.

Update from previous reporting: Don Valley East MPP Adil Shamji had previously put his name in the running for leader. He dropped out of the race, throwing his support behind Bonnie Crombie.

With reports from Laura Stone, Dustin Cook, Jeff Gray and The Canadian Press

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