What’s next for Mississauga as mayor moves on to Queen’s Park

For the first time in decades the race for Mayor in Mississauga is wide open. Shauna Hunt with what's next for the city as Bonnie Crombie heads to Queen's Park.

By Shauna Hunt

In the last half century, the city of Mississauga has only had two mayors, Bonnie Crombie and the beloved Hazel McCallion.

McCallion grew the city from the ground up and reigned for nearly 36 years before paving the way for then-city councillor Bonnie Crombie to take over. Crombie has been mayor for nine years, winning with an overwhelming majority in every election that followed.

But now, with Crombie becoming Ontario’s Liberal leader, what is next for the sixth-largest city in Canada.

A couple of current city councillors have expressed interest in the city’s top job and it seems for the first time in decades, the field is wide open.

“We are going to have a Mayor resign, we are going to have a Mayoralty byelection and I’m going into it,” says Ward 5 councillor Carolyn Parrish who is among the first to throw her hat in the ring. She began her career in the House of Commons, first as a Liberal MP and then as an Independent. She’s been a city councillor in Mississauga since 2006.

Some of her colleagues are also expressing interest in becoming mayor including Stephen Dasko, who was elected to council in 2018. He’s been described as a lifelong Mississauga resident and community advocate.

“I think you are either of two thoughts of mind. You either want to run out of the room when you hear things like this or you run in to see how you can help and I want to run in and see how I can help,” said Stephen Dasko.

Ward 7’s Dipika Damerla is also considering a run.

“I fully expect it to be very competitive and that a lot of good people will put their names forward,” Damerla said. 

Well-known philanthropist and Mississauga business owner Mohamad Fakid is another name being tossed around for the position, but he tells CityNews, that a run for mayor is not in the cards right now, pointing out some of the traits needed for a new mayor to succeed.

“It has to be a mayor that’s willing to do more than two or four years. It has to be a mayor that could bring stability and a future vision to Mississauga,” said Fakid. “It’s a vibrant city, a city on the rise and it’s diverse and inclusive. It has to be a mayor who is prepared to make the council and every high position or high board in Mississauga look like the streets of Mississauga.

Fakih believes the race will be a hot one with some high-profile names popping up soon, adding this is a pivotal moment for the city that he’ll be watching closely. 

“I do not want to run for mayor but I don’t want Mississauga not to have a very, very good mayor,” said Fakih, adding he will be vocal about who will support in the anticipated election.

Crombie said she will be staying on as mayor until the new year to see through the city’s budget process. Once the seat is vacated, council will have 60 days to pass a bylaw to set up a byelection. At that point, city staff would then report back on possible dates. 

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