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Bonnie Crombie won't seek seat at Queen's Park in near future

TORONTO — New Ontario Liberal Party Leader Bonnie Crombie says she will not run for a seat at Queen's Park in the near future.

After her leadership win on Saturday, she mused about running in the riding held by former Progressive Conservative labour minister Monte McNaughton, who resigned in September.

The government has yet to call a byelection for the riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.

The Mississauga mayor says she'll resign that post in the new year after she gets the city's budget passed.

The conservatives have been attacking Crombie since she won the Liberal leadership, criticizing her housing record and painting her as an elite who is out of touch with voters.

Premier Doug Ford accused Crombie in question period of flying in a private jet with a developer.

Crombie says that never happened, but admits she has had lunch at Mississauga developer Benny Marotta's winery and always paid her way.

"I know what the premier is trying to do, he's trying to distract from his own record," she told reporters.

Mississauga is nowhere close to hitting the provincial government's housing targets. Provincial data show the city has 2,173 housing starts in 2023, about 25 per cent of the 8,800 goal. Municipalities who meet the targets qualify for the province's $1.2 billion housing slush fund.

Crombie blamed developers for the slow start, saying the city has approved 20,000 permits for housing and there is another 60,000 available as-of-right permits available. But they cannot force developers to build.

"We'd like to get shovels in the ground, it's the development community that has slowed down for market force reasons, for financing reasons, supply chain, labour, all those reasons," she said. "So we need to change those factors so that we can get shovels in the ground."

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra has said the government plans to introduce tools to force developers to build once they have received permits, but has not yet tabled any legislation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press