Mississauga by-election officially begins—here’s what the playing field looks like
(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 

Mississauga by-election officially begins—here’s what the playing field looks like

The by-election to determine who will lead Mississauga into the future is officially underway and a number of candidates officially registered on the first day. 

During a March 6 special meeting, councillors approved a bylaw triggering the process for a by-election to fill the seat, declared vacant on January 17, when Bonnie Crombie stepped down as mayor. Registration to replace the former mayor opened up shortly after on Wednesday afternoon. The vote to elect a new mayor in Mississauga will take place June 10.

Several candidates registered and can now officially begin their campaigns. Four current City councillors who have publicly indicated their intentions to run over the last several months since Crombie won the Ontario Liberal leadership all appeared at City Hall to file their nomination papers: Stephen Dasko, Alvin Tedjo, Carolyn Parrish and Dipika Damerla.  

Parrish has issued her resignation from her councillor seat, effective March 15, and has requested her seat be declared vacant on March 20 (the next scheduled council meeting) “to ensure a timely and efficient process for the City and residents of Ward 5”. The Municipal Act does not bar elected officials in the lowest tier of government from keeping their council seat while they run for higher office. She has publicly stated she wants the Ward 5 by-election to replace her held at the same time as the mayoral vote, to avoid a “prolonged second campaign” and save taxpayers the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would otherwise have to be spent on a separate by-election. 

Parrish is currently the only council member intending to run who will resign her council seat “as a matter of principle.” It is possible, even with two years left in the current term, that council could vote to replace Parrish by appointment, instead of a by-election. 

For the candidates that appeared at City Hall on Wednesday to register, housing and affordability will be two of the key issues during the campaign. 

As a resident who grew up in Mississauga and is now raising his own family in the city, Tedjo, currently in his first term of council, said there are many challenges facing residents. As the youngest member on council, Tedjo has said that puts him in a good spot to relate to emerging challenges voters face. 


Councillor Alvin Tedjo is among those running for the mayor’s job, with a focus on housing, affordability and community safety.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 


“I think we need someone with energy and vision, and I think I have that, and so I'm excited to be part of this race to explore those options and hopefully connect with voters on the same issues,” he told The Pointer before registering. “I think there's a huge opportunity for our city to look forward towards the future. That's really important to me.”

“Everything I do, I do for my kids and the future of everybody in the city, because you look at what is available now and it's not a city that I can currently imagine my kids living in because of how unaffordable it is, how little housing options there are.”

Tedjo said issues he will focus on while campaigning are housing — something he has advocated for through motions he has brought at City Hall and regional council, including his push to bring fourplexes to Mississauga — affordability and building safe, complete communities for the next generation. More housing options, building out the missing middle, working with developers who share his vision and looking at purpose-built rentals will be priorities, he said. With aging infrastructure Tedjo wants to expand the tax base by maximizing revenues through increased density, creating a much larger stream of property taxes per hectare so each individual homeowner can enjoy a freeze on taxes for the rest of the council term — something he’s voted for the last two years, but did not happen.  

“People are struggling right now,” he said. “There's a lot of affordability issues, people can't make ends meet. There's a huge housing insecurity, food insecurity and people are not being able to get by.”

Parrish, currently in her fifth decade serving as an elected official in Mississauga (as a PDSB trustee, a Member of Parliament and a councillor), said her city needs “somebody that’s got experience, somebody who can deal with senior levels of government.” 


Mississauga political veteran Carolyn Parrish says the city needs a leader to negotiate with Queen’s Park and Ottawa during a critical time in its growth.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 


“We’ve got huge housing problems and we’ve just got to fix them,” she said. “I think it's the most important [issue] and that’s going to solve a lot of problems like food banks and all the other things that are causing problems in Mississauga.” Transportation will be another focus and while the Hurontario LRT currently under construction is important, the city also needs a transit line running east-west and all-day, more frequently on the Milton Line, she said. 

“We need all these things and we’ve been yelling about them for years; it's time for us to stomp down to Queen’s Park and make sure it happens. We need to come up with our own plan and our money. You can’t ask senior levels of government for some help when you haven’t worked it out yourself.”

Acknowledging that Mississauga has not had a permanent mayor since January, Damerla says there are many pressing issues and the city needs a mayor who can “hit the ground running on day one… and has a proven ability to solve problems and is willing to stand up for Mississauga when required.” Housing, creating complete communities and community safety will be top of mind for the Ward 7 Councillor.  

“Mississauga needs to do its bit when it comes to building more homes to address the housing shortage. As we speak, we’re building 12,000 homes… so we’re doing our part but with this growth, this massive growth, comes the responsibility that our services keep up with our growth. That is critical, because if we manage this growth we can become a better city, a more liveable city.” 


Councillor Dipika Damerla says growth needs to be accompanied with proper infrastructure to support new residents.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 


Managing incoming growth, she explained, dovetails with creating walkable cities which, she says, will give people more options to move around, reducing dependency on the car and making it more convenient for residents.  

Damerla said more details would be coming on the campaign trail about her plan to tackle key issues, but that at a high level, one of the things the next mayor needs to do “is remind everyone Mississauga is the province’s third largest city and second largest economy. When Mississauga does well, Ontario does well, so we really need a strong partnership with the provincial and federal government to make sure that we have the resources that we need.”

“Mississauga is a 21st century city but we’re still working with 19th century tools, so we need a new deal from the province and the federal government,” she added. “It's really important that we’re recognized and treated correctly.” 

For Dasko, a large part of managing growth will include focusing on the city’s infrastructure.  

“I don’t think going out and deviating from our official plan and our local area plans makes a lot of sense when you don’t have the pipes in the ground and the infrastructure and the transit system… [to] actually facilitate it and make it happen,” he explained. “We want to have really great, complete communities, walkable communities and a lot of that is just focusing on the plans that we have in place.” 

With 50 years already behind Mississauga, Dasko says through his leadership he wants to take the city into “the next 50 years ahead,” noting the place where he grew up is at a “very critical tipping point in the city right now that with the right leadership we can get to greatness,” which is why he is running. 


Councillor Stephen Dasko says his focus will be fiscal responsibility while creating Mississauga’s future infrastructure.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 


“We want to look at things like being great fiscal managers,” he said. “I’m very passionate about targeting our spend and maximizing our spend and not going right back to the taxpayer and also looking at building what we’ve got,” which he described as “the great underpinnings of culture in the City of Mississauga. We’ve got it all right here at our fingertips. We just need to help elevate those to let people know what incredible artists and talent we have here in Mississauga.”

Dasko said he would like to see more investment in the arts, which he said will be “a financial generator” for Mississauga if done properly. 

Outside of the councillors, long-time resident and founder of Tolias Landscaping and Plowing, Peter Tolias, has also registered. With a positive outlook and an emphasis on goal setting, he told The Pointer Wednesday his platform will be focusing on youth empowerment — something he says is “really dear to [his] heart” — and improving collaboration and transparency across the City’s departments to enhance efficiency to speed up and increase housing. 

“I’m running for mayor because I believe that we can improve the city,” he said. “Bonnie and Hazel have done an amazing job bringing us to where we are today but it's time that we improve by one or two percent. So my goal is one percent and then maybe one will turn into 10 and if every department does one percent better we can change the directory of the city and make it even better than it is now.”

Among the candidates registered so far, Peter McCallion, son of long-time Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, may be one of the more controversial candidates running for the seat. He has been a lightning rod of controversy in Mississauga for decades and has never held public office, garnering just over 600 votes when he ran for a council seat in 2022. 

His failed $1.6-billion downtown hotel-convention centre project in 2010 led to an almost $8 million judicial inquiry that Mississauga taxpayers had to cover and accusations of conflict of interest against his mother who was still mayor at the time. She lobbied behind the scenes for her son, leading a judge to declare she had violated common law principles and was in a conflict of interest. Her son made a mockery of the inquiry claiming he did not know he was an owner of the company that tried to use his mother to get the deal pushed through; he claimed under oath that he could not remember any conversations about the plan that he was questioned about.

In 2014, Peter McCallion pleaded guilty to 15 counts of failing to file personal and corporate taxes over a decade and was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. He has also faced troubles as a real estate agent, having his licence suspended twice for violating rules. Mississauga taxpayers had to pay about $200,000 in legal fees for McCallion during the judicial inquiry when he said he did not have the money to cover his own costs.  

He told reporters on Wednesday he would “make sure the city works together well.”

A Liaison Strategies poll in January showed Parrish was the front-runner in the race. She was leading her nearest competitor, Councillor Damerla, by 11 percentage points among decided voters and six points among all voters. The survey showed Parrish had the support of 35 percent of those residents who responded and identified as decided voters. Damerla followed with 24 percent. Tedjo was third at 16 percent and Dasko was tied in fifth in the survey with 6 percent support. Almost half, 49 percent, of those surveyed indicated they were undecided.

Residents have until April 26 to register, ahead of the June 10 by-election. 



 Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @mcpaigepeacock

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