Liberal MPP Linda Jeffrey is leaving Queen's Park and planning a mayoral bid in Brampton, Ont.
CBC News has confirmed reports the MPP is stepping down from her seat and cabinet position as Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister to challenge Susan Fennell for the mayoralty of the Toronto suburb.
Jeffrey was first elected as an MPP in the October 2003 election, when the governing Liberals won their first majority. She was re-elected in 2007 and 2011.
During her second term as an MPP, Jeffrey served as the province’s minister of natural resources. More recently, she had served as labour minister and the minister responsible for seniors, before she took on the municipal affairs and housing portfolio.
Ahead of Jeffrey’s official notice of resignation, some of her opposition colleagues publicly thanked her for her service at the legislature.
Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod tweeted that Jeffrey was a “good MP and then minister.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that she and Jeffrey “didn't always agree, but I respect the hard work she did for her constituents.”
Horwath’s words came in a statement issued Sunday when the NDP had named a candidate in the riding of Brampton-Springdale that Jeffrey will be vacating.
Jeffrey’s departure from the Liberal ranks means that the minority government will now have only 48 seats in the Ontario legislature. The Progressive Conservatives have 37 and the New Democrats have the remaining 21.
The Liberals have seen a handful of MPPs step down over the past year or so. While the government has won some of the subsequent byelections, they have seen some of those seats fall to opposition parties.
Prior to being elected as an MPP, Jeffrey had served four terms on Brampton City Council.
Jeffrey’s attempt to become the next mayor of Brampton will mean that she is challenging the incumbent mayor, Susan Fennell, for her job.
Fennell has been the mayor of Brampton since 2000. She is already up against five other candidates.