Steven Del Duca is running to be Ontario’s next Premier. As Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, he’s vying to replace Doug Ford and lead a government focused on economic dignity – an idea rooted in the belief that hard work should create financial security and opportunities for success. It’s something that used to be taken for granted, but has been becoming less and less true, especially since Ford took office.
To truly understand why Del Duca’s vision is anchored in economic dignity, you need to know his family’s story.
In 1951, Alfonso Del Duca came to Canada to start the long and difficult task of building a better life for his wife and children. When he arrived, he found work in sewer and watermain projects, building the communities that continue to form the backbone of this province.
It was on one of those job sites that an accident broke his hip and most of his ribs.
Despite his injuries, and a limp that he would have for the rest of his life, he continued to work. He was lucky. His boss appreciated his positive attitude and his work ethic and gave him a new job as a handyman at the company’s head office.
That opportunity, and the safety net that supported him through that difficult time, are something he would never forget.
His son, Del Duca’s father, inherited his father’s work ethic, retiring at 78 years old from a career in construction management.
Del Duca’s mother was also an immigrant, arriving from Scotland in 1961. She built a career as an early childhood educator, a legal assistant, and ultimately, as the owner of a pasta shop and espresso bar.
Del Duca’s parents met in their new home of Ontario, falling in love, getting married and starting a family in a middle-class neighbourhood in Etobicoke.
As a child, Del Duca took an early interest in history, and eventually politics. That led him to volunteer on his first political campaign in 1988, after his cousin asked him to provide what Del Duca now jokingly calls “unskilled labour.”
After high school, he studied at U of T and Carleton University before earning his law degree from Osgoode and then going to work for the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario in Vaughan.
But his proudest achievement is his family. His wife Utilia and their two daughters, Talia and Grace, live in Woodbridge. Del Duca often speaks about how, when they started their family, he came to truly understand his grandfather’s and his parents’ story on a much deeper level, knowing what drove and motivated them to work as hard as they did.
Alfonso’s example drove Steven to public service and in 2012 he was elected to Queen’s Park for the first time, representing the riding of Vaughan as a Liberal MPP. In 2014 he became Ontario’s Minister of Transportation and it was there that Del Duca achieved what considers to be his greatest successes from his time in office.
Seeing the need for more health services in his community, he fought for and delivered the funding for Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital and the Vaughan Hospice.
As Transportation Minister, he greenlit the extension to Highway 427, better connecting York Region to the downtown core. And he ordered a major expansion of GO train service, adding 12 new stations to the rail network.
After the Ontario Liberal Party’s defeat in 2018, the Party launched a race to elect a new leader, and Del Duca put his name forward.
After Premier Doug Ford’s tumultuous first year in power, rife with cuts to education and health care, as well as a constant stream of cronyism and corruption scandals, Del Duca won the leadership of the Liberal Party on a commitment to rebuild what had been broken in Ontario.
As he describes it: “I ran for Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party because people need to continue seeing their hard work pay off and result in a better life for their families. And, I am running to lead this province because Doug Ford’s Conservatives have made it a lot harder for families in Ontario to create opportunities for themselves.”
Now, as Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Del Duca is focused on how, as Premier, he could ensure that dignity.
That’s why his plan centers on the idea that hard work should not only pay off, but also provide some level of security for workers and entrepreneurs, and benefit the community.
The Government of Doug Ford, however, isn’t getting that job done.
Instead of building our public services, they’ve chronically underfunded healthcare and education, even during a global pandemic when we needed them the most.
People are finding it harder and harder to get ahead or to provide opportunities for their kids, but the Conservative Government has been spending more time and money on fighting losing court battles than it has on real economic action.
And rather than reducing class sizes or improving conditions in long term care, the Ford’s Conservatives are planning to waste billions on building a highway we don’t need – highway 413.
To Del Duca, this points to a government that’s out of touch with what Ontario needs and has no idea how to deliver on the things that matter.
For Alfonso’s grandson, replacing that Government with one that’s grounded in the values of hard work, community and creating opportunity is a challenge seventy years in the making, and it’s one he hopes will just be getting started after the provincial election this June.
I'm fighting for a brighter future for everyone who calls Ontario home. I believe that in a province as great as ours, every person with talent, no matter who they are, should have the opportunity to succeed. Steven Del Duca