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'Seriously exploring:' will Naqvi run for Liberal leader?
In this edition: meet leader Stiles, Crombie vs. Ford spurs leadership speculation, education deals ratified, a Pink Palace alum joins Team Pierre, in memory of Jim Carr
There's a new NDP captain in town and CUPE education workers have voted to ratify their new contract with the Ford government — but first some news on the nascent search for a new Liberal leader.
Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi is "seriously exploring" a bid for the Ontario Liberal leadership — launching an exploratory committee to seek advice on the move.
He confirmed the news during a phone interview on Friday.
“I'm seriously exploring the opportunity to seek the Ontario Liberal Party leadership,” the former attorney general said. “I am meeting with party elders, activists, former candidates, seeking their input and presenting a bit of my vision for the party and for the province.”
Naqvi has formed an “exploratory committee” to seek advice on a potential bid.
“I'm working with a small group of people who are volunteering their time in giving me some strategic advice and helping develop what a plan would look like. These are important building blocks.”
The veteran provincial politician — who was at Queen’s Park on Thursday to reunite with his former colleagues and connect with new Liberal MPPs — has spoken with former MPPs and three former Liberal premiers. He’s also connected with former NDP premier Bob Rae on throwing his hat into the upcoming race. “It's important for me to listen to them. Ask them the questions as to what they think needs to happen in the rebuilding of the party,” he said.
Why a return to provincial politics: “What we're witnessing is Doug Ford and his Conservative government, very ideologically motivated, creating chaos in our important public institutions like health care and education to further their privatization agenda,” he explained. “That has to be stopped.”
The party has yet to develop the rules for the contest — an item on the agenda for the upcoming annual Liberal huddle in March.
Naqvi says the leadership election timeline will matter. “We know when the election is going to be. It's really important that our new leader has sufficient time to rebuild the party to rebuild the infrastructure of the party,” he explained. “We need to make sure that there's sufficient time to undertake this work so that we are creating conditions for success.”
Naqvi is planning to take the time to weigh his options and “ask questions that would help me understand what our party needs to do.” “My focus, whether I run for leadership or not, that we are helping to build a modern Ontario Liberal Party that focuses on issues that are most important to Ontarians.”
“Not interested in being divided:” leader Stiles' uncontested victory
Marit Stiles will become the next leader of the NDP — winning an uncontested race for the party's top job.
Stiles — a former school board trustee and federal party president who was long viewed within party circles as a frontrunner to replace longtime chief Andrea Horwath — was named leader early Tuesday morning after no challengers emerged by a midnight Monday deadline.
“Our party is stronger than ever. With Marit as our leader, we will be able to expand our reach,” party president Janelle Brady said in a statement. The incoming leader called her uncontested victory a “show of unity,” proclaiming the next provincial election as “the real race.”
A lackluster leadership race prompted rivals to attack the party.
Government house leader Paul Calandra said Stiles represents “the same policies that Ontarians soundly rejected” by handing the Tories a second majority. Interim Liberal captain John Fraser called it “astonishing” that the leader of the Opposition “ran unopposed.”
Stiles is set to be acclaimed following a “confirmation vote” by members. The timeline of the leadership contest would have a leader installed by March; provincial council can decide whether to expedite the process.
INSIDE CAUCUS — Did she say “ship” or “sh#t?”
Stiles thanked interim leader Peter Tabuns for keeping “this ship moving forward” in her first address to MPPs as leader. Many misheard it — Stiles took off her mask and clarified that she said “ship.”
Liberal MP Jim Carr has died. The former cabinet minister — who had been battling myeloma and kidney failure — passed “at his home surrounded by his family and loved ones” this afternoon.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Carr’s passion, tenacity, integrity, humour, and commitment to the Prairies were second to none — and we’ll miss him dearly.”
Tory leader Pierre Poilievre: “He was an honourable and kind man, steadfastly dedicated to the service of his country and his constituents.”
NDP captain Jagmeet Singh: “Right up to the end of his life, he dedicated himself to making a better future for Canadians.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly: “Canada is a better place because of Jim.”
Former Conservative leader O'Toole: “Jim was honourable and very well respected on all sides. Condolences to his family.”
The Ontario NDP leadership debate that was set to happen next Wednesday will go ahead — despite incoming leader Marit Stiles running uncontested. We're told that the event will happen with a different format, with a “fireside chat” with Stiles being considered.
CUPE education workers have voted to ratify their new contract with the Ford government. 73% of members voted to accept the four year contract. “We ended up with an agreement that’s free of concessions and we more than doubled the wage increase the Ford government tried to impose on us,” said Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) president Laura Walton. The province also reached an agreement with the Ontario Council of Educational Workers — demonstrating that they “can deliver agreements with education unions that ensure children remain in class,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.
Premier Doug Ford fired a salvo at Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie for “whining” over her opposition to the More Homes Built Faster Act, which would cut developer fees. “I don't know what her issue is,” Ford said during a presser in Brampton. “We need you to get on board and and start moving forward and stop the whining and complaining that I hear day in and day out,” he added. “I'm not whining, I'm simply doing my job as mayor to stand up for our residents and taxpayers,” Crombie said in response.
A BID FOR GRIT LEADER? — Crombie's name has been tied to a possible run for the Ontario Liberal leadership. A new poll by Probit had her in the lead with 28% support — ahead of a slate of potential contenders (including Naqvi).Ontario - Liberal Leadership Polling: Crombie: 28% Hunter: 13% Erskine-Smith: 12% Lehman: 8% Naqvi: 7% Bains: 6% Coteau: 5% Bevilacqua: 3% Virani: 3% Hsu: 3% Blais: 2% Baker: 2% Probit / November 29, 2022 / n=814 / Online
We asked Team Crombie in July if she was considering a bid. “I remain deeply committed to our city,” she said in a statement.
We're told that Crombie has been fielding calls encouraging her to run for the top job. She is unlikely to make the jump, insiders suggest, citing family reasons and her successful October bid for a third term in Mississauga.
ON THE MOVE
Sebastian Skamski has left Queen's Park for Parliament Hill, where he's joined Tory leader Pierre Poilievre's office as Director of Media Relations.
He recently served as Director of Communications to Public and Business Service Delivery Minister Kaleed Rasheed.
Caitlin Clark is Premier Doug Ford's new press secretary. She's taking over from Christine Wood — who has gone on maternity leave. Clark joins Team Ford from Education Minister Stephen Lecce's office, where she headed communications.
Steven Outhouse will be the campaign manager for the United Conservative Party in the upcoming provincial election.
“When you run national campaigns spanning the entire country, you can't help but develop an affinity for our Conservative heartland,” he said.
Are you a staffer on the move? We want to feature you in the next newsletter. Send us a note and tell us more about where you're headed.
WHAT WE'RE READING
CANADIAN PRESS: “Inside SickKids: How the pediatric hospital’s ICU was saved from near collapse” by Liam Casey
CBC NEWS: “Federal government already preparing for what organizers call 'Freedom Convoy 2.0'” by Elizabeth Thompson
TORONTO STAR: “Doug Ford’s housing bill will make parks more crowded, Toronto and Mississauga warn” by Tess Kalinowski
GLOBAL NEWS: “Ontario intends to appeal court decision that struck down Bill 124” by Isaac Callan and Colin D'Mello
NATIONAL POST: “Conservative MP ejected from Commons after accusing Liberal of lying about gun bill testimony” by Ryan Tumilty
Last edition's question: The first time the notwithstanding clause was invoked by the province was to pass Bill 307 — a bill limiting third-party election advertising.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Yasir Naqvi was first elected as the MP for Ottawa Centre following the last federal election. Can you name his predecessor? Send us a note with your answer.
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