Decimated Ontario Liberals to learn Thursday if their caucus will shrink again

Decimated Ontario Liberals to learn Thursday if their caucus will shrink again

The Ontario Liberals will learn Thursday if their shrinking caucus will shrink some more.

That’s when the federal Liberals are holding a much-delayed nomination meeting for the Ottawa-area riding of Orléans, where Grit MPP Marie-France Lalonde is running to succeed retired MP Andrew Leslie.

If Lalonde (Orléans) gets the nod, she will resign as an MPP, reducing the provincial Liberals to five seats in the legislature.

In July, the party lost Ottawa-Vanier MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers, who resigned to become principal of Massey College at the University of Toronto.

“It is great to have a date set for the nomination meeting,” said Lalonde, who was a minister in former premier Kathleen Wynne’s cabinet.

“For the last four months, my amazing team has been helping me knock on doors, and it is good to see the finish line. We are looking forward to joining Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team on the campaign trail,” she said Sunday.

Stephen Heckbert, president of the Orléans Provincial Liberal Association, said local Grits “have been waiting patiently for the federal party to call a nomination meeting.”

Despite being one of just seven Ontario Liberals to survive last year’s landslide victory by Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, Lalonde is far from a lock to win the federal nomination.


Local federal Liberal riding association president Khatera Akbari has been campaigning hard and party sources say it will be close.

There has been much griping among Ottawa-area Liberals over the delayed nomination meeting, which will come more than a week after the start of the Oct. 21 campaign.

If Lalonde is successful, the premier, who has until next February to call an Ottawa-Vanier byelection, would have to call one for Orléans by March.

But Progressive Conservative insiders say Ford would call both byelections for the same day.

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Robert Benzie

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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