The Ontario Liberal leadership race has begun

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The race to lead the Ontario Liberals began this week.

Ottawa’s Brenda Hollingsworth was the last candidate to throw her hat into the race on Monday. She is an Ottawa-area personal injury and criminal defence lawyer with Auger Hollingsworth.

Meanwhile the five leadership candidates already in the running have been criss-crossing the province and working the phones to drum up support along party members. Only those who have become members by next Monday, December 2 will be eligible to vote for delegates to the convention.

Whoever wins will have significant challenges ahead, for one, the Liberals were left will just seven seats, losing the status and caucus funding of a recognized party in the Legislature. Of those seven MPPs, two resigned this year, both from the Ottawa area.

Recent figures from Elections Ontario show donations to the party in 2019 total less than $700,000, a far cry from the $4.3 million in fundraising reported by the Progressive Conservatives.

Steven Del Duca the former MPP for Vaughan who served as Wynne’s minister of transportation and minister of economic development is running for the leadership role.

Michael Coteau was among the first to stake his claim. The MPP for Don Valley East and was first elected in 2011 and served in Wynne’s cabinet for her entire time as premier with posts that included citizenship and immigration, tourism, culture and sport, as well as children and youth services.

Mitzie Hunter the MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood is also in the race. She first won her seat in a byelection in 2013. She joined cabinet after Wynne led the Liberals to a majority in 2014, serving as the associate minister of finance, education minister and finally minister of advanced education.

Alvin Tedjo a 2018 election candidate for the Liberals in the riding of Oakville North – Burlington has thrown his hat in the ring too. He announced his leadership bid in May and gained media attention this fall by proposing a policy to dissolve Ontario’s Catholic school system and merge it with the public school boards.

Kate Graham a 2018 election candidate for the Liberals in the riding of London North Centre. Kate is born and raised in southwestern Ontario and has the distinction of being the only one of the five declared candidates who’s not from the Greater Toronto Area.

The Liberal party briefly considered changing how to pick their leader but rejected calls for a membership-wide vote. Instead, the party will stick with selecting delegates to vote in a one-day leadership convention on March 7.

Now the campaign begins with a candidate showcase this week ahead of several other events before the March 7 leadership convention. -CINEWS

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