Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie visits UCPR

Anil Jhalli
Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie visits UCPR
(Photo : Photo: Anil Jhalli)

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie is hoping the provincial riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell can return to Liberal glory when Ontarians head to the polls in the summer of 2026. 

Crombie, who was named the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party on Dec 2, 2023, following the resignation of former leader Steven Del Duca, visited the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) on Friday, May 10, where she had the opportunity to discuss concerns and priorities with local politicians and leaders.  

“I wanted to hear what the problems are and help with brainstorming some solutions,” said Crombie, during a stop at the Broken Stick Brewery in Hammond last Friday. “The party and its executive really want me to get out there and tour, especially coming to small town communities. I am a new leader with a new vision, and it’s important for people to get to know me.” 

Crombie, has been touring ridings across the province, and before visiting Hammond, she was in Ottawa, Sudbury and Brockville.  

Progressive Conservative Stéphane Sarrazin currently represents the provincial of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell riding, and was elected in 2022.  

“Liberalism has evolved,” said Crombie. “I don’t want to be tied to the legislature. I want to be out there, learning and understanding what’s happening jn small communities. I want to know, if you didn’t vote Liberal last time, what has your MPP done for your community, and how can we as a party gain your confidence when it comes time to vote?” 

Support for Francophones 

Communities across the UCPR are predominately Francophone, and Crombie said she understands the importance of providing equal representation for the French speaking population.  

“I made the commitment to reinstate the Francophone commissioner,” said Crombie, addressing the fact that the program was cancelled. “It is very important to stand up for Francophone rights.” 

Roads and infrastructure 

The Ontario government recently announced it is taking over Highway 174, more than 25 years after the road in Ottawa’s east end was downloaded to the City of Ottawa.  

Premier Doug Ford announced a new $543 million agreement between the Ontario government and the City of Ottawa, which includes Ontario taking over responsibility of Ottawa Road 174. 

And while Crombie is happy for the City of Ottawa, she wonders what it means for neighbouring municipalities, many of them who rely heavily on the stretch of road to get to and from Ottawa.  

“Of course it should be offloaded to other municipalities,” said Crombie on the highway. “Every City needs fair infrastructure, roads and bridges.” 

A new voice for the riding 

Crombie was joined by Trevor Stewart, who is seeking the provincial Liberal nomination for the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.  

Stewart, who is from Hammond, is currently a Clarence-Rockland city councillor.  

First elected to municipal council in 2022 at the young age of 23, the young councillor has made an impression and now hopes to provide a voice to a region he feels has been ignored by the province. 

“As a municipal councillor, I have seen how much our (riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell) growth has been held back by the provincial government,” said Stewart. “This area has been good to my family, and for me, politics is a way of giving back to the community I love.” 

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