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Residents of Mississauga, Ont. elect Carolyn Parrish their new mayor

Sixteen candidates are vying to fill the Mayor's office in Mississauga, Ont., which was last held by Bonnie Crombie, who stepped down in January shortly after becoming leader of the provincial Liberals. Crombie poses for a photograph at Queen's Park in Toronto, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Former federal member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish has been elected mayor of Mississauga, Ont. from a field a 16 candidates.

Parrish, who is also a former city councillor in Mississauga, had a comfortable lead with 43,494 votes with over 100 per cent of polls reporting Monday night.

Her next-closest challenger, city councillor Alvin Tedjo, trailed with 35,005, followed well back by fellow councillor and former Ontario MPP Dipika Damerla at 27,119.

The race was a byelection, triggered after former mayor Bonnie Crombie stepped down in January to lead the Ontario Liberals.

Shortly after launching into her prepared victory speech, Parrish abandoned it and declared the region will be stronger because there will be "three mayors that actually get along."

"And we will be formidable when we go to Queen's Park or to Ottawa to tell them we need our fair share of funding," Parrish told supporters, adding that she can be both charming as well as forceful.

"We're going to mix charm and force and we're going to take over the world!"

To run for mayor, Parrish resigned as councillor for Ward 5, whose residents also voted for a candidate to fill her seat.

With the key issue of housing availability and affordability at the forefront of the race, Parrish had said she would work to rezone land for residential use in shopping hubs to minimize disruption to existing neighbourhoods.

Parrish initially held a wide lead over her opponents in early polling. However, recent polls indicated her lead was slipping following her decision to not take part in candidate debates, allowing Damerla and Tedjo to close the gap.

The byelection winner will serve as mayor for the remainder of the 2022-2026 term.

Tedjo told supporters following Parrish's win that they came close, noting polls showed his support six months ago was at just four per cent.

He said he had messaged Parrish to congratulate her, telling his supporters it was in all of their interests to to work together.

"She has spent her life fighting for our community and I look forward to continuing to work with her on council," Tedjo said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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