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Mississauga elects Carolyn Parrish in race to replace Bonnie Crombie as mayor – Toronto | Globalnews.ca

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Former MP and local councillor Carolyn Parrish has won the race to be Mississauga’s next mayor, according to unofficial results from the city, after a tense campaign that featured four councillors.

Voting in two municipal byelections wrapped up at 8 p.m. on Monday evening, with a new Ward 5 councillor also selected.

Unofficial results shared on the city’s website had Parrish in first place with more than 43,000 votes and Alvin Tedjo in second at over 34,000. Dipika Damerla sat in third, while Stephen Dasko polled in fourth.

“First and foremost I wanted to thank the citizens of Mississauga for placing their trust in me,” Parrish said at her victory party.

“Your voices have been heard and together we will build a brighter, more inclusive future for our city.”

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Parrish said she had run a “positive campaign” and said she would work closely with the mayors of Brampton and Caledon to advocate for the region as a whole.

“The region is going to be stronger now because you’re going to have three mayors that actually get along,” she said. “And we will be formidable when we go to Queen’s Park or to Ottawa to tell them we need our fair share of funding.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford congratulated Parrish in a social media post on Monday night.

“I’m looking forward to working with you as we build a stronger Mississauga and a stronger Ontario,” Ford wrote.

Parrish had run a frontrunner campaign, pulling out of debates partway through her push to become mayor, suggesting she and her team had received threats.

She pushed to put housing at the heart of her platform, including a promise to convene an advisory panel to speed up building approvals in Mississauga, which fell short of its housing targets in 2023.


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Parrish also listed promises to support “gentle infill where lot sizes and access permits” and to focus on changing the zoning around vacant offices to allow for more housing.

The campaign frontrunner said she would keep city and regional budgets at or below the rate of inflation, while property taxes would stay at or below the cost of living.

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The first two days of advance voting showed turnout had shot up since the most recent 2022 election when incumbent Crombie was re-elected. The city said at the end of May that 2,250 voters had cast their ballots early ahead of polling day on June 10.

Early in the campaign, Parrish resigned her local seat to focus solely on the election campaign. Out in front, she found herself under scrutiny, including for comments she made discussing refugees at one event.

Damerla, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, focused a large part of her campaign’s energy on changing a controversial plan for bike lanes on Bloor Street, while Tedjo promised a two-year tax freeze.

Just before 8:50 p.m. on Monday, Damerla stood in front of her supporters and congratulated Parrish on her win, also celebrating her own campaign.

“It’s still a win because of this team,” Damerla said.

“We put forward a vision for Mississauga that I’m proud of… it was a very good vision we put forward.”

Later in the evening, Tedjo — who came in a surprise second — also congratulated the mayor-elect, saying he looked forward to continuing to sit on her council.

“Six months ago we were at four per cent in the polls and we came this close because of all of you,” Tedjo said.

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He said Parrish had “spent her life fighting for her community” and thanked his rivals for “an invigorating debate.”

The race has been one of the most tense and competitive in the city’s history.

Former mayor Hazel McCallion led the city for so long that she almost became synonymous with it, one of just four who have led Mississauga since it officially became a city. McCallion was first elected at the end of 1978, serving as mayor until late 2014.

She was wildly popular with the electorate during her tenure, known for a no-nonsense approach to other levels of government many politicians – including Ontario Premier Doug Ford – still cite as a key attribute in the lessons they tried to learn from her.

From the 1990s onwards, McCallion generally pulled in more than 90 per cent of the vote.

When she stood down, the former mayor ultimately endorsed a successor in 2014. She picked then-Ward 5 councillor Bonnie Crombie as her recommendation, allowing Crombie to walk the 2014 election with more than 60 per cent of the vote.

Crombie was re-elected twice with twice with almost 80 per cent of the vote each time.

When she resigned as mayor to lead the Ontario Liberals at the beginning of the year, Crombie refrained from endorsing a mayoral candidate. Without an incumbent or an endorsement, a crowded and competitive campaign began, with four councillors at its heart.

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Alongside the highly-anticipated mayoral race, unofficial results show residents elected local BIA president Nathalie Hart as the new councillor for Ward 5.

 


Click to play video: 'Final weekend push for candidates to become mayor of Mississauga'


Final weekend push for candidates to become mayor of Mississauga


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