Ontario Liberals declare ‘electoral urgency’ amid early election speculation

As Ontario politicians race to prepare for a potential early election call, the provincial Liberals have triggered the party’s “electoral urgency” clause to speed up the search for candidates and avoid being caught flat-footed before the vote.

Premier Doug Ford raised eyebrows, in May, when he refused to commit to the fixed election date — currently scheduled for June 2026 — leading to speculation that the premier might dissolve the Ontario legislature and call a general election in 2025.

On Sunday, Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie asked the party’s executive council to declare an electoral urgency, allowing the Liberal nominations commissioner to speed up the timeline to hold local races.

An email sent to all riding association presidents, obtained by Global News, said the party would launch nominations “in a number of ridings on an expedited basis” — a move the party said was taken “at the request of the leader.”

“Logistically, this move expedites the nomination of candidates, in consultation with local party members,” said party spokesperson Carter Brownlee.

“This is all about Ontario Liberals being ready to fight an election in every riding across Ontario — whether that’s in 2026 or at any point sooner,” Brownlee said.

Preparing for an election is a tall order. To mount a successful campaign, parties typically raise millions of dollars, nominate 124 candidates after subjecting them to a vetting process, consult on and write a campaign platform, hire staff, and court volunteers to knock on millions of doors to identify support.

While Crombie tapped caucus members to work with other prominent Liberals on crafting policy positions she could run on, the party has yet to appoint a single candidate since Crombie took over as leader.

During the 2022 election campaign, candidate recruitment turned into a liability for the party which was forced to drop the number of contenders due to scandal — a point that was raised during a post-mortem report.

“Some felt the party needs to spend more time vetting candidates to ensure that not only do our candidates’ views align with Party values, but also that their ‘ground game’ in their respective ridings is effective,” the report stated.

Finding candidates might also help boost the party’s fundraising numbers after Crombie set a fundraising goal of $10 million ahead of the next election to challenge Ford’s well-funded Progressive Conservatives.

The party stressed, however, that while the declaration doesn’t change Crombie’s ability to appoint up to five candidates it doesn’t increase that limit, either.

The electoral urgency declaration does give the party the power to “amend, suspend or vary” nomination rules in order to fast-track the process.

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