Bonnie Crombie wins a lot of the hearts during a meeting of Burlington Liberals - Sandra's wasn't one of them

By Pepper Parr

August 22, 2023



She entered the room and dove right into the crowd.

Shaking hands, saying hello – nice to see you again.

Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga and a candidate for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party is just itching for a chance to run against Premier Doug Ford in 2026 and form a government.

Bonnie Crombie addressing Burlington Liberals

She talked about revitalizing the Ontario Liberal Party, finding first class candidates and defeating Doug Ford in 2026.

The woman has a lot of energy and puts on a very polished performance. The small crowd liked her – they applauded frequently during the one hour event.

Doing the one on one with people is usually, based on what I saw last night, Crombie on her best.  Gloria, a Personal Care Worker explained at some length what she was up against day to day.   Gloria made the very poignant remark – “please don’t forget us if you are elected.”

She set out her priorities:  Climate Change, Education, Health Care with a tight focus on improving Long Term Care and the Greenbelt.

She was generous about the other four candidates.  The five people running for the leadership consist of  two MP’s, two MPP’s and a Mayor.

Sandra had some hard questions for Crombie.

Animated, engaging and direct for the most part.

Crombie took questions from the audience – but something seemed to change when a woman named Sandra asked Crombie questions about positions she had taken in the past.  Surprisingly, Crombie almost got into an argument with the woman, saying on three occasions: “I didn’t say that”.

She was fully aware of what the woman was talking about – but didn’t appear to handle the interaction all that well.

The polished performance – and make no mistake – Bonnie Crombie knows how to engage an audience, slipped for a few moments.

She pivoted and asked: “Does anyone know who Veronica is?  No one knew.  Crombie said “Veronica is my Mom”.  She told the audience about her two daughters who are engaged and soon to be married and that they will need good child care and excellent schools with teachers focused on students.

Crombie knew how to listen carefully.

The audience learned that Crombie was a successful woman in the private sector and worked for Fortune 500 level corporations and was the Mayor of a City with a $4 billion budget and that she had been a Member of the House of Commons; became a City Councillor during a by-election.

She told the audience she had released policy papers and put out one today on how the University Community College sector should be helped.

The meeting was scheduled to run from 6:00 to 8:00 – but by about 7:10 Crombie was out the door leaving an audience that wanted more of her and from her.

There was no explanation – like I’m tired – can I go home. 

We were later advised that Crombie had a back to back schedule, an event in Oakville that started at 7PM and then another event at 7:30PM.

She has been on the road for weeks – visiting every town that will make time for her.

The Burlington audience was asked to stand and have a group picture taken – most wanted to be in that picture. Sandra didn’t.

The race for the leadership is going to play itself out during the fall when there will be at least five debates giving the public an opportunity to see the candidates in a setting they don’t control.

Bonnie Crombie was almost Imperial when she walked to the event provincial Liberals were holding in Hamilton. People spoke of her taking a majority of the ballots on the first round of the ranked voting.

Thursday, September 14
Thunder Bay – 7:00 PM

Sunday, October 1
Stratford – 1:00 PM

Tuesday, October 24
Toronto – 7:00 PM

Wednesday, November 8
Ottawa – 7:00 PM

Saturday, November 18 OR Sunday, November 19 (TBD)
Brampton – 1:00 PM

The Liberal Party of Ontario has an open membership.  Be 14 years of age and you can vote for the leader of your choice.

Party members will cast ranked ballots on Saturday, November 25, 2023 and Sunday, November 26, 2023.

Voting will be available in-person for almost all constituency associations, student clubs, and women’s clubs, with a small number voting by mail.

Ballot counting and the announcement of round-by-round results will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2023 with the OLP’s new leader announced the same day.

Based on what I have seen during the Meet and Greet events and the interviewing I have been doing, this race is going to be between Nate Erskine- Smith and Bonnie Crombie.

Crombie can beat Doug Ford but she has to beat Erskine – Smith first.


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3 comments to Bonnie Crombie wins a lot of the hearts during a meeting of Burlington Liberals – Sandra’s wasn’t one of them

  • Eleanor Christie

    I attended the meeting last night and at no time heard a request for a group photo.
    I was disappointed that she didn’t seem to want to answer questions. The questions asked were predictable if one pays attention to the journalists, media and interviews. I was surprised that she turned defensive as they were normal questions.

  • Sandra Slaats

    Sandra here. I’m a bit surprised to be the focus of this. First I have heard about a group photo so I did not opt out. My objection was to her plan to take one question and then leave after giving a lengthy speech. However when she did take questions she seemed defensive and surprised to be asked obvious questions. She said several times that we were a tough crowd. I think probing questions are to be expected. She will definitely get them from the other candidates and from the media ( and from the other parties if she is elected).

  • B.Tuinman

    And who is Sandra?? What do I miss??

    Editor’s note: Sandra was sitting in the last row. I didn’t have any questions for Sandra. Name tag told me who she was.