The Ontario Liberals have wrapped up their annual general meeting with a refreshed executive council and new voting rules in place to govern an upcoming leadership election.
The event, which the party says is the biggest in two decades, was held in Hamilton, Ont., over the course of the weekend.
On Saturday night, the party voted to introduce a new voting system to select its next leader, dropping its previous setup of delegated conventions.
Members attending the annual general meeting overwhelmingly voted for a one-member-one-vote system. Proponents say the process is more democratic, and that delegated conventions put too much power in back rooms.
The next leadership election has not yet officially started, with the winner set to replace former leader Steven Del Duca.
Del Duca, now Mayor of Vaughan, resigned on election night in 2022 after failing to secure official party status — or his own seat.
Three figures are publicly considering a run: MP Nate Erskine-Smith, MP and former Ontario cabinet minister Yasir Naqvi, and current provincial caucus member and former MP Ted Hsu.
On Sunday, the party elected a new executive council.
In a statement, the Liberals said the new officials and a series of constitutional amendments would “chart the course for renewal.” The focus on renewal comes after two consecutive and resounding election defeats, finishing behind the Progressive Conservatives and the Ontario NDP.
Kathryn McGarry has been elected as president, with Damien O’Brien as executive vice president. Tim Shorthill will be the party’s treasurer and Pankaj Sandhu is secretary.
McGarry served as minister of natural resources and transportation minister under former premier Kathleen Wynne, but lost her seat representing the riding of Cambridge in 2018.
She then served a single term as Cambridge’s mayor before losing her re-election bid last October.
“The Executive Council will turn its attention to overseeing the party’s first-ever leadership race run under a direct-vote system, with a goal of engaging Ontarians in every region and positioning the party to form government in 2026,” the Ontario Liberals said.
“They will also determine the timeline and additional requirements of the leadership election process.”
— with files from The Canadian Press
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