Steven Del Duca resigns after losing election bid as PCs dominate GTA

·4 min read
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca announced his resignation Thursday night after failing to win back the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge north of Toronto in the provincial election.  (Esteban Cuevas/CBC - image credit)
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca announced his resignation Thursday night after failing to win back the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge north of Toronto in the provincial election. (Esteban Cuevas/CBC - image credit)

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca announced his resignation Thursday night after failing to win back the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge north of Toronto in the provincial election.

CBC News projected incumbent Progressive Conservative candidate Michael Tibollo as the winner. Tibollo ousted Del Duca, a former cabinet minister in Kathleen Wynne's government, from that seat in the 2018 Ontario election.

"Earlier this evening, I informed our party president of my decision to step down from the leadership of our party. And I have asked him to meet with the executive to set a leadership contest for as soon as is reasonable," Del Duca said.

The news comes on a bitterly disappointing night for Del Duca's Liberals as Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives are cruising to a second majority government in Ontario, the CBC News decision desk projects. Meantime, the Liberals were leading in just a handful of seats.

For an up-to-date list of results throughout Ontario as the results are counted, visit the CBC News election results tracker.

Del Duca became leader of the Ontario Liberals in March 2020 — just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, he's been operating without a seat at Queen's Park. He was hoping this election would signal a comeback for both him and the Liberal Party, which was reduced to a distant third in the legislature four years ago when Doug Ford's PCs swept to a big victory in the province.

Del Duca lost that 2018 battle with Tibollo by 8,000 votes.

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Tibollo served as a cabinet minister throughout the last four-year term but was twice demoted to lower-profile posts. Ford campaigned for him in his riding in an effort to keep the seat.

On May 20, Del Duca told reporters he would win the riding back. He first won it in a byelection in 2012.

The last time a leader of one of Ontario's three major parties failed to win a seat in a general election was 2007, when then-PC leader John Tory lost in Don Valley West. The winner of that race was Liberal Kathleen Wynne, who went on to become premier six years later.

Meanwhile, the PCs are gaining momentum across the Greater Toronto Area as they look to hold on to critical seats in Mississauga and gain seats in Brampton. In the 2018, the PCs won nearly all of the ridings in the Greater Toronto Area, except for three in Brampton that elected NDP MPPs.

PCs projected to sweep Brampton, Mississauga

The Progressive Conservatives are projected to sweep Brampton, and much of the rest of the Greater Toronto Area along with it. The PCs are projected to win Brampton West and Brampton South again, seats held by Amarjot Sandhu and Prabmeet Sarkaria respectively. They also lead in Brampton Centre and Brampton East, two seats that were previously held by the NDP.

Former city councillor Charmaine Williams is projected to win Brampton Centre, which was held by NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh.

Hardeep Grewal is projected to win Brampton East, taking the seat away from Gurratan Singh, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh's brother. Brampton North, which had been an NDP seat until Kevin Yarde became an independent, is projected to be won by Graham McGregor.

During the campaign, Ford touted the proposed Highway 413 and more hospital beds as reasons why Brampton voters should choose the PC party. The results show that approach worked.

Meanwhile, the Liberals have failed to gain any seats in the GTA.

The Brampton sweep extends across Peel as the PCs are projected to win all six ridings in Mississauga. The Liberals had campaigned hard in Mississauga, including the last day of the campaign when Del Duca visited the city. Several Liberal candidates are projected to come in second in their riding races in the city west of Toronto.

All eight ridings in York Region are projected to remain in the PC column, while four of five of Durham's ridings are projected to stay with the PCs as well.

However, Oshawa is about to buck the trend to the Progressive Conservatives, as NDP candidate Jennifer French is projected to hang on to her seat for a second consecutive term.

The PCs are also projected to hold onto their seats in Halton, winning Oakville, Oakville North-Burlington, Milton, and Wellington-Halton Hills. The Liberals came in second place for all those ridings except for Wellington-Halton Hills, a rural riding that surrounds Guelph — which remained Green under Mike Schreiner.

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