Bonnie Crombie defends near $1M in donations, some from Ontario developers: email


Aisling Murphy, Web Content Writer

Published Monday, October 2, 2023 2:03PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 2, 2023 2:03PM EDT

Bonnie Crombie has raised nearly one million dollars in her bid for leadership of the Ontario Liberals, tens of thousands of which appear to have come from one developer based in the Toronto area.

According to the latest data from Elections Ontario, Crombie, who took a leave from her role as Mississauga mayor in September, has raised just under $937,00 as of Monday. Of the near-million sum, more than $30,000 came from 10 individuals who share names with executives at Vaughan development company, HBNG Holborn Group.

In an email sent to supporters on Monday, Crombie responded to criticism from key opponents Nate Erskine-Smith, Yasir Naqvi, and Ted Hsu, all of whom brought up the developer donations In a debate held on Sept. 14 in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Bonnie Crombie, who is rumoured to be considering a bid for the Ontario Liberal Leadership is photographed on the steps of the Ontario Legislature, in Toronto on Thursday May 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Crombie's opponents claim that she has failed to build sufficient housing in Mississauga, pointing to the recent Ontario Greenbelt scandal.

“Are we going to win with a leader who has a track record of failing to build homes with that experience?,” Erskine-Smith asked during the debate.

“And are we going to win with a leader who said they're going to open up the Greenbelt and then the next week said, I didn't mean it, the Greenbelt is sacred? How do you build trust?”

In the email, Crombie continued to defend herself while sharing the million-dollar fundraising figure with her supporters.

"Our campaign has followed all campaign-finance rules," Crombie wrote. "Every single time. All leadership donations are capped at a maximum of $3,350 and are disclosed publicly."

Since the beginning of this year, the Liberal Party has raised approximately $600,000, while the Progressive Conservatives have raised more than ten times that, a figure Crombie called “unacceptable” in the email.

"It is clearer than ever that Doug Ford must be defeated in the next election," Crombie continued in the email. "And if he is raising $10 for every loonie we raise, we will lose. That is not acceptable to me."

Liberal party members across Ontario will vote for their new leader in November. The winner will be announced in December.

With files from The Canadian Press