Toronto

Carolyn Parrish wins Mississauga mayoral byelection

The former city councillor and federal member of Parliament consistently led in opinion polls conducted during the mayoral byelection campaign, despite declining most debates and media appearances — something she was heavily criticized by her rivals for. 

Parrish will become only 3rd politician to hold post since 1978

Mississauga mayor-elect Carolyn Parrish speaks after byelection win

12 days ago
Duration 3:46
“We will build a brighter, more inclusive future for our city,” mayor-elect Carolyn Parrish told supporters at the Mississauga Convention Centre Monday night.

Carolyn Parrish called it a "victory" for Mississauga after she was elected the city's next mayor in a byelection that saw just over a quarter of eligible voters cast a ballot.

The former city councillor and federal member of Parliament consistently led opinion polls conducted during the campaign despite declining most debates and media appearances — something her rivals criticized her for.

A large crowd of supporters at the Mississauga Convention Centre cheered Monday night as CBC News projected Parrish would beat out her nearest rival, Alvin Tedjo. 

"Today we celebrate not just a victory at the polls but a victory for the future of our city," Parrish told her supporters during her winning speech. 

"This victory is your victory."

Parrish, who has been in politics for 35 years, has vowed to help those struggling with the increasing cost of living by constraining the city budget — although she didn't set hard targets or release a costed platform. Voters indicated housing and affordability concerns were among the top issues at stake during a time of expansion that has seen Mississauga grow into the third-largest city in Ontario and the seventh-largest in Canada.

WATCH | Tedjo gives his concession speech to supporters:

'We came this close,' Alvin Tedjo tells supporters after election loss

12 days ago
Duration 3:47
In a concession speech to supporters Monday night after Mississauga residents voted for a new mayor, second-place-finisher Alvin Tedjo said he has "so much hope and ambition" for the city.

Tedjo said he messaged Parrish to congratulate her on her win, and to wish her well in her new role. He told supporters that they came close, noting polls showed his support six months ago was at just four per cent.

"She is now the leader of all of us and it is in our interest to work together to make sure that we have the best city," he said.

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

The City of Mississauga said 25.71 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, up from more than 21 per cent who got involved in the city's 2022 municipal election. 

Parrish had 43,494 votes, while Tedjo came runner-up with 35,005 votes, according to the city's unofficial results. Dipika Damerla came third place with 27,119 votes and Stephen Dasko was in fourth with 22,340 votes.

Tedjo, Damerla and Dasko are set to return to their jobs as city councillors.

Twenty candidates were in the running for the city's top job, which was triggered when former mayor Bonnie Crombie resigned in January to lead the Ontario Liberal Party.

Parrish will become only the third politician to hold the post since 1978, after Crombie and long-serving former mayor Hazel McCallion.

Here are the live results of the mayoral byelection:

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.

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

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

Following Parrish's win, Ontario Premier Doug Ford congratulated the mayor-elect on her victory.

"I'm looking forward to working with you as we build a stronger Mississauga and a stronger Ontario," Ford said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown also took to social media to congratulate the new mayor-elect. 

"I have been encouraged, the way her campaign has spoken about public safety, infrastructure investments, housing and working collaboratively," he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"[Parrish] has an impressive record in public service, and I have enjoyed working with her at the Region of Peel over the last 6 years."

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow also reacted to Parrish's win. 

"I look forward working with you on the issues that affect our region," Chow said in a post on X. 

Mississauga mayoral candidate Dipika Damerla speaks with reporters following the mayoral byelection.
Dipika Damerla was in third place with more than 99 per cent of polls reporting. (Derick Deonarain/CBC)

What is Parrish promising to do as mayor?

On taxes: Parrish's campaign didn't release a fully-costed platform, but she has promised to constrain the city's budget in order to hold property tax rates "close to the rate of inflation."

On housing: Parrish said she'll use a "wide range of solutions" to address the housing affordability crisis, including supporting "gentle infill" and pushing the owners of aging malls to convert them into residential sites — something mall owners across North America have been doing in recent years.

On livability: Expect Parrish to also try to line up more public-private partnerships, which she said could lead to more community centres for youth and an expansion of the city's arts programs.

On public safety: Parrish has also said she's closely monitoring the ratio between police officers and residents as crime becomes a "growing concern" in Mississauga. Policing in the city is run through the region, so it's unclear how many tax dollars Parrish would be willing to spend on increasing Peel Regional Police's ranks. 

On transit: Parrish didn't present a transit expansion map during her campaign, unlike her top rivals. Instead, she said an east-west connector to the Hurontario LRT, which is set to open in September, will be "essential," as is all-day two-way GO Train service on the Milton line. "Funding from senior levels of government will be a priority," she said. 

Natalie Hart wins Ward 5 council spot

Natalie Hart, who scored a key endorsement from Crombie, will be the next councillor for Ward 5, according to the City of Mississauga's unofficial election results.

Hart faced a stiff challenge from Danny Singh.

There were 15 candidates in the race to represent the ward, which includes the Malton community and also houses Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

Past Ward 5 councillors have gone on to hold other political roles, including Crombie and her predecessor Eve Adams, who went on to become an MP.

WATCH | Rewatch CBC's Mississauga mayoral byelection special in the player below

Mississauga votes 2024: Watch our live mayoral byelection special

12 days ago
Duration 1:23:21
CBC Toronto brings you the result of the Mississauga mayoral byelection and breaks down what it means for the city's future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jabakhanji

Reporter-Editor

Sara Jabakhanji is a general assignment reporter with CBC News in Toronto. You can reach her at sara.jabakhanji@cbc.ca.

With files from Ryan Patrick Jones, John Rieti, Madi Wong, Julia Whalen and The Canadian Press