The Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) has been struggling to gain support in the last days of the provincial election campaign, with poor performances in the polls and leader Steven Del Duca on track to losing his own riding.
Polling from 338Canada indicates that the OLP is set to remain the third party in the Ontario legislature, with Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative (PC) party poised to win another majority government.
Seat projections last updated on May 30 show the PCs winning 78 seats (up 2 from the 76 won in 2018), the NDP winning 25 (down 15 from the 40 won in 2018) and the Liberals winning 20 (up 13 from the seven won in 2018). The Greens would maintain their one seat.
While the Liberals are set to make some gains after suffering the worst defeat of any governing party in Ontario history in 2018 under Kathleen Wynne, polls indicate that current party leader Steven Del Duca will not be one of the newly elected Liberals MPPs headed to Queen’s Park following Thursday’s election.
Del Duca, who sat as MPP for Vaughan from 2012 to 2018, became leader of the Ontario Liberals on Mar. 7 2020.
Polling in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, where Del Duca is running, currently favours PC candidate Michael Tibollo, who also beat Del Duca in 2018. The PCs are currently polling at 45% in the riding, while enjoying a 70% odds of winning. The Liberals are polling at 42% with a 30% odds of winning the GTA seat.
Tibollo’s lead over Del Duca comes even as the New Blue Party led by Jim Karahalios and the Ontario Party led by Derek Sloan are both running candidates in the riding.
True North reached out to both PC and Liberal campaigns in Vaughan—Woodbridge to ask about their support levels and confidence heading into Thursday’s election, but neither campaign got back in time for publication.
The Liberals’ poor performance in the polls has even caught the attention of the legacy media, including the Toronto Star. Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail ran an OP-ED titled “the future of the Ontario Liberals is at stake on June 2.”
Prior to the pandemic, the Ontario Liberals had enjoyed high polling numbers, with some even putting them in first place. That support, however, now seems to have evaporated.
During the pandemic, Del Duca supported lockdowns and called for the unvaccinated to be banned from LCBO and cannabis retail outlets. He also supported expanding the vaccine passport to require three Covid shots.
Del Duca held a pre-election campaign rally on Mar. 26 – a large maskless event in a Toronto Ballroom. This happened just weeks after he and other Liberal candidates had called for children to remain masked in schools.
Some of Del Duca’s promises include mandating Covid vaccines for Ontario’s public school students and frontline education workers, appointing a minister dedicated to anti-racism, working towards a four-day work week, raising the minimum wage to $16 per hour and banning handguns – something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday.
During the campaign, the Liberals also faced backlash after a stunt promising to reveal a big “Ford-Conservative scandal” fell flat, as well as for suggesting that Toronto’s first black police chief Mark Saunders, who is the PC Candidate in Don Valley West, is playing “a game of chicken.”
The Ontario general election is set for Jun. 2.