MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Hours ahead of likely being crowned the new Ontario Liberal leader, Steven Del Duca said the party’s challenge now is ensuring Premier Doug Ford’s first term is also his last.
Del Duca, a cabinet minister in the previous Liberal government, headed into the convention with likely enough delegates to win on the first ballot. Results are set to be revealed Saturday afternoon.
The new leader’s task will be a monumental one, Del Duca acknowledged.
The party was reduced in the 2018 election from a majority government to one in third place without official party status in the legislature. They currently hold eight seats and have millions of dollars in debt from the last election.
“Our road ahead as Liberals will not be easy, because we have a ton of work to do,” Del Duca told the convention crowd of about 3,000 people.
“We need to raise millions of dollars. We need to find qualified candidates who reflect Ontario’s incredible diversity. And most importantly, we need to forge a platform of compelling ideas that once again inspires people, lets them know they can trust us to govern — because they trust us to be on their side and to fight for them.”
In a speech before the results were to be revealed, Del Duca said he wants to fight for public education, health care and against climate change.
Policy announcements Del Duca rolled out during the leadership campaign include incentives for electric vehicle purchases and funding for more charging infrastructure, developing a long-term STEM education strategy, and increasing the money municipalities get from the gas tax.
The other contenders for the Liberal leadership are former cabinet minister Michael Coteau, politics instructor and former London, Ont., public servant Kate Graham, former education minister Mitzie Hunter, former college administrator and public servant Alvin Tedjo, and Ottawa-based lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth.