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Toronto MP Nate Erskine-Smith launches leadership bid for Ontario Liberal Party

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca steps off the stage after stepping down as party leader on election night in Vaughan, Ont., Thursday, June 2, 2022. Nate Erskine-Smith has launched a campaign for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, making the politician representing Beaches-East York the first MP to announce a bid. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Toronto MP Nate Erskine-Smith says he's running for the leadership of Ontario's Liberal Party, making him the first person to officially announce a bid. 

The Liberal MP for the riding of Beaches-East York has been elected at the federal level three times since 2015 and says he's running to rebuild the provincial party. 

The Ontario Liberals will announce a new leader on Dec. 2 to replace Steven Del Duca, who resigned after the party did not win enough seats in last year's election to have official party status at the legislature for the second campaign in a row.

Erskine-Smith, a former lawyer, says in a video announcing his leadership bid that he will focus on issues such as access to health care, senior care, mental health and addictions, climate change and wealth inequality.

The Ontario Liberals have said the party will soon announce the opening date for official candidate registration, but a deadline of Sept. 5 has been set and candidates must have an entry fee of $100,000 and a refundable $25,000 deposit.

Party members will cast their votes by ranked ballot on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, with the Liberals set to announce round-by-round results the following weekend.

Erskine-Smith says he plans to kick off his leadership bid at a rally in east Toronto on Tuesday evening.

Others who have said they are exploring leadership bids include former Ontario cabinet minister Yasir Naqvi and current provincial caucus member and former MP Ted Hsu.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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