Council report reveals Mississauga voters could elect a new mayor as early as June 10
A report that has already been made public and will be presented to councillors Wednesday offers a first glance at the timeline to replace former Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie.
Wednesday’s report indicates voters could elect a new mayor as early as June 10. It requests council pass a bylaw during a March 6 special council meeting to kickstart the process for a by-election to fill the vacancy. Candidate nominations could open the same day once the bylaw is passed and close April 26. The report notes advance poll days would be held at the Civic Centre on May 24 and 25 and at locations throughout the city June 1 and June 2.
It requests council approve up to $3.5 million, to be funded through the City’s election reserves, to cover by-election costs. A City spokesperson recently told The Pointer costs for previous City of Mississauga by-elections were $458,000 in 2011 and $275,000 in 2015, but noted the “by-elections were for one ward vs city-wide, so the costs are not comparable to what we will be undertaking this year for the mayoral by-election.” The spokesperson said a single ward by-election, to possibly replace a current council member if one becomes the new mayor, could cost up to $500,000.
“It is anticipated that the costs related to administering a City-wide by-election will be similar to the 2022 general election,” the report notes.
Council officially declared the mayor’s seat vacant on January 17, setting the stage for a new leader to help oversee major projects like the Hurontario LRT, the multi-billion dollar expansion and redevelopment of the Mississauga Hospital and the unprecedented lakefront renewal being planned along much of the city’s Lake Ontario shoreline.
The next few months will be critical in defining what lies ahead for Mississauga as councillors and other potential candidates spar for the mayor’s job.
At least three current members of council have publicly said they will run to lead Mississauga during this critical time in the city’s history.
Councillors Stephen Dasko and Carolyn Parrish confirmed to The Pointer their intention just days after Crombie won the Ontario Liberal leadership, and Councillor Dipika Damerla has also recently announced her plan to run, while Councillor Alvin Tedjo announced an event being held Monday evening, sparking speculation that he will also join the race.
Parrish, who is in her fifth decade serving as an elected official in Mississauga (as a PDSB trustee, a Member of Parliament and a Councillor), previously told The Pointer she intends to resign from her Ward 5 council seat upon registering to run “so that both contests can take place on the same day, demonstrating full commitment and saving the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.”
“Should I win, there will be a newly elected Councillor in place the same day, no prolonged second campaign and no further half-million dollars to do so,” she declared, noting she has no comment on the choice of other candidates to do the same, as “these are personal decisions”.
Political veteran Carolyn Parrish says she intends to resign from her Ward 5 position upon registering to run to replace Crombie.
(The Pointer files)
Unlike provincial and federal elections that require candidates to resign from their seats to run for a municipal position, the Municipal Act allows elected officials in a lower tier of government to retain their seat while they run for higher office. Referring to Parrish’s intentions to resign her position upon registering her candidacy in the mayoral by-election, the City spokesperson previously explained, “In this case, a by-election for the position of Councillor may be held at the same time as the Mayoral by-election dependant on the timing of the Councillor resignation.”
Councillors are not required to resign their seat to run in the Mayoral by-election, the spokesperson said. “If a Councillor resigns to run for the Mayoral position, Council can choose to either appoint somebody to fill the seat for the remainder of the term or choose to have a by-election.” Staff would then be required to prepare a report outlining the timing for a by-election that would be voted on by City Council. No report has been prepared yet to determine a timeline for a by-election to replace Parrish.
“If the Councillor does not resign their seat to run in the Mayoral by-election and wins the Mayoral by-election, they would either resign their ward seat or it would be deemed vacant when they are sworn in as Mayor,” the spokesperson explained. “At that time Council could either appoint a person to fill the ward seat for the remainder of the term or, within 60 days, pass a by-law requiring a by-election for the vacant seat. Staff would then prepare a report outlining the timing for a by-election.”
Dasko and Damerla have not signalled if they intend to resign their council seat, meaning residents could see a second by-election take place again in the fall, and the City would need to prepare for additional costs and resources.
Councillor Dipika Damerla, now in her second term, is the latest member to announce a run for the mayor’s seat.
(The Pointer files)
A recent Liaison Strategies poll revealed Parrish is favoured to replace Crombie with the veteran councillor leading her nearest potential competitor, Councillor Damerla, by 11 percentage points among decided voters and six points among all voters. The survey, released January 15, showed Parrish has the support of 35 percent of those residents who responded and identified as decided voters. Damerla followed with 24 percent.
Dasko was tied in fifth among the candidates listed with 6 percent support, trailing behind Councillor Tedjo, who was third at 16 percent but has not officially confirmed he will run. According to the survey, 49 percent of voters indicated they were undecided.
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