Mississauga politics, dominated for decades by Hazel McCallion, is not a sport for amateurs or pushovers. So it’s not surprising that Bonnie Crombie (BA 1982 St. Michael’s) emerged as McCallion’s successor after a political trial by fire that included a short, tumultuous stint in the federal Liberal caucus, cyberstalking by a self-styled Mississauga watchdog and even a local fight over a crematorium development.
Crombie, who studied political science, economics and international relations, says her undergraduate experience sparked her interest in public policy and administration. “U of T encouraged me to become more involved in the political process.” A long-time Liberal and former government relations executive, Crombie entered federal politics in 2008, running for the federal Liberals in the riding of Mississauga Streetsville. Crombie jumped to municipal politics after losing the seat during the Conservatives’ 2011 sweep, urged by McCallion to run in a council by-election. Facing a high-profile challenger – outspoken McCallion critic Carolyn Parrish (BA 1969 St. Michael’s, BEd 1970) – Crombie squeaked into office, besting her rival by 241 votes in a crowded field. During McCallion’s final term, Crombie’s name surfaced regularly as a potential successor.
Noting that U of T Mississauga injects $1.3 billion annually into the Peel Region economy, Crombie says she sees the campus as “a nucleus for ideas, innovation and excellence” and points to her record of supporting the city’s $10-million investment in UTM’s Innovation Complex and the I-Cube accelerator. Mississauga’s future economic competitiveness and success,” she says, “mean supporting the research, students, faculty and goals of UTM.”