Parrish maintains lead in Mississauga byelection, latest poll shows; Dasko vows to build the city ‘intelligently’ and ‘affordably’
Carolyn Parrish/X

Parrish maintains lead in Mississauga byelection, latest poll shows; Dasko vows to build the city ‘intelligently’ and ‘affordably’

Since registration opened March 6 for Mississauga's mayoral byelection, 18 candidates have come forward, including three current members of city council: Stephen Dasko, Alvin Tedjo and Dipika Damerla. Now former councillor Carolyn Parrish, who resigned in March “as a matter of principle” to focus on her campaign, has led in all the polls conducted since Bonnie Crombie stepped down to take over the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. Parrish's decision saves residents almost $50,000 in wages and benefits, and prevents an expensive byelection that would cost approximately $500,000 later in the year, if the veteran Mississauga leader wins the race (the Ward 5 byelection to replace her is taking place at the same time as the mayoral contest). If one of the three current councillors win that would trigger another byelection, likely in the fall.  

Over the weekend, Dasko and Parrish officially opened their campaign office to the public. Both events were heavily attended by constituents from across the city who came out to support their mayoral hopefuls (Tedjo’s office launch took place the weekend prior on April 6). Council members were also in attendance, with John Kovac, Matt Mahoney, Martin Reid and Sue McFadden attending both events on the weekend.

The Pointer spoke with several people at each launch about why they are supporting the two candidates. At Dasko’s event, residents cited the Ward 1 councillor’s commitment to community, his open communication and welcoming approach. 

He “keeps his promises,” one resident said. 

For Parrish, Mississauga resident, businessman and wildly popular Toronto Raptors "Superfan" Nav Bhatia referenced her experience and ability “to get things done” with her connections to upper levels of government—having formerly served as a school board trustee and longtime federal member of parliament—being an asset.  

Standing in front of supporters at the former grounds of the OPP station on South Service Road on Saturday, Dasko referenced the qualities the city needs in its next leader, a mayor who “has a heart… that’s a true leader…that’s vocal and visible [and] accessible,” adding the “future for Mississauga is right now.” In the coming years the city will continue to redefine itself from a bedroom community to a booming cosmopolitan destination, he said.  

“I want to lead our Mississauga forward with respect to our existing communities while we continue to build intelligently, affordably and follow official and local area plans. I want a Mississauga that keeps taxes low while not compromising our services. I deliver. I've got a track record of it and I bring results,” he told those in attendance. 

“As mayor, I'll be making some big decisions, some will be tough. I'm prepared to make the difficult ones, and always act in Mississauga’s best interests. I’ll negotiate with all levels of government and bring in new investment in the best interests of city building.”


Mayoral candidate and Ward 1 Councillor Stephen Dasko addressing those in attendance during his official campaign office opening Saturday.

(Paige Peacock/The Pointer) 


Endorsements — something that can hold a lot of sway in a political campaign — have been pouring in.

At Parrish’s office launch, those in attendance included Associate Ontario Minister for Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo and Mississauga—Erin Mills MP Iqra Khalid, who both endorsed the veteran Mississauga leader as their choice to be the city’s next mayor. 

Although they did not get on stage to voice their support, councillors from across Peel showed up for Parrish's launch including Brampton Councillors Martin Medeiros and Pat Fortini, and Caledon Councillor Mario Russo. A letter was also presented on behalf of Caledon Mayor Annette Groves. Former Mississauga councillors Pat Saito and George Carlson were also in attendance. Saito has publicly endorsed Parrish.

“When you think about the role and why people go into politics, a lot of times they go into politics, I believe, for the wrong reason; they go in because it's a job,” Tibollo told attendees on Saturday. “It shouldn't be a job, it shouldn't be something that's nine to five, and I can say that about Carolyn. I know how dedicated and passionate she is about the work she does in Mississauga, but not just in Mississauga, because, again, when you're the mayor of one of the biggest cities, not just in Ontario, but in Canada, you also have a responsibility as to how you put positions fairly as they relate to other jurisdictions.” 

Khalid said, “[Parrish] has been a mentor for me. She has been an inspiration for me. She has shown me what loyalty looks like, she has shown me what hard work looks like, she's shown me what being a badass looks like. If there is one person I know in Mississauga who has been all of those things, that is Carolyn Parrish.”

She said the former councillor does not shy away from holding the local Liberal MP to account, on behalf of Mississauga. 

“I take inspiration from that because as good of a relationship as we can have, ultimately, we are in politics,” Khalid said. “We are public servants here to help support, to build, to make better what our city is, and I am of the strongest conviction that Carolyn is that person who is going to make our city a better place, and continue to grow it.”

Other endorsements listed on her website include support from former City manager and CAO Paul Mitcham and former Mississauga manager of bylaw enforcement Mike Foley.  


Ontario Minister Michael Tibollo and mayoral candidate Carolyn Parrish at her official campaign office opening Saturday.

(Paige Peacock/The Pointer) 


In her address to supporters who attended the campaign office launch on Saturday, Parrish pledged to change the City’s planning department by putting together a Mayor’s Panel that would meet monthly and work with developers whose applications have been slow to progress and push them to get shovels in the ground.

“We have to have the practical problem solved around a table where everybody's aiming to do the same thing, which is to build our city,” she said. Parrish also vowed to work together with the other Peel mayors and “march downtown [to Queen’s Park], and say this is what we need”. 

Parrish also promised to implement quarterly meetings to build the City budget over a 12-month period, allowing councillors to bring in suggestions and priorities so constituents can have more input. 

“I've heard that there's somebody out there… that's offering zero tax increase,” Parrish said. “I'm telling you, that's not possible. You have to repair community centers, you have to repair roads and you have to bring in some new services. So there will not be a promise coming out of me for zero tax increases, but there will be a promise that I will spend the tax dollars the way I spend my own dollars.”

Tedjo’s mayoral campaign platform promises to freeze taxes until 2026. 

In conjunction with the mayor’s race, a byelection in Ward 5 is also ongoing. 

That byelection opened registrations on March 20th shortly after the seat was declared vacant by council following Parrish’s departure. The list of candidates has grown to 13 since then, with the latest registrations including Kristin Dattoo, Jordan Gray, Ehsan Khandaker, Tazeen Rizvi and Rana Zia. A full list of candidates for both byelection can be found here

The successful candidate in the Ward 5 race will have to address a unique set of needs in the largely isolated and incredibly diverse part of Mississauga.

Recent polling data from Mainstreet Research, for a survey commissioned by the Y Media Group, show Parrish remains the front runner in the mayoral race. The most recent numbers show the former Mississauga councillor now leads her nearest competitor, Damerla, by 15 percentage points among decided voters. It signals an increase in support compared to previous polling data.



A recent poll shows Carolyn Parrish is still the frontrunner and is widening her lead in the mayoral race to replace Bonnie Crombie as Mississauga’s leader. 

(Mainstreet Research) 


Between April 6 and 8 Mainstreet Research surveyed 887 eligible Mississauga voters (the margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level) that were asked who they would vote for based on a selection of the current candidates registered to run in the mayoral race. 

According to the poll, released April 17, Parrish has the support of 34 percent of residents who responded and identified as decided voters. Damerla has 19 percent, with Dasko in third at 17 percent — an increase in support compared to previous polling data — and Alvin Tedjo slipping into fifth among the candidates listed with 11 percent support. 

Other candidates not mentioned in the Mainstreet Research poll but who were featured in the latest Liaison Strategies poll include former mayoral hopefuls George Tavares and David Shaw. Among decided voters Tavares had 6 percent support and Shaw had 3.



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