TORONTO – Steven Del Duca is the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, and is running against Ontario’s other party leaders to become the next premier. There are a handful of hot topics this election season, including housing, cost of living, healthcare, and education. The Liberal leader took a walk with Brandon around Riverdale Park in Toronto to discuss his plans to address these issues if elected on June 2nd.
When it comes to affordability and the cost of living, the Liberals have big plans and have signed a 19-point affordability pledge to make life easier for Canadians, which includes plans to make public transit more affordable.
“Buck-a-ride province-wide. $1 transit fares, $40 for a transit monthly pass,” Del Duca explained, saying that it will save transit users in Toronto over $1,000 a year.
Del Duca also explained that the 19-point pledge includes plans to scrap the 8% provincial tax on prepared food under $20. The Liberals are also promising to bring back rent control.
“We know that for tenants across this province it’s a real struggle to make the rent every single month. We’re going to bring back real rent control everywhere,” Del Duca added.
But if you want to buy a house in Ontario, the Liberals have promises for you too!
“1.5 million homes over a decade we’re going to build,” Del Duca said, adding that a corporation will be developed to ensure that first-time homebuyers will be given an advantage when buying a new home.
When it comes to gas prices, Del Duca and his party have a plan to lower the price at the pumps.
“The Ontario Liberal plan will take 5.7 cents/litre off the gas tax come July 1st and 5.3 cents off of the fuel tax for a period of six months to get us through this hump,” Del Duca explained.
The Liberals have promises for parents too. Del Duca says that they will be introducing $10-a-day daycare within 100 days of taking office in order to make childcare more affordable for parents across Ontario.
When it comes to COVID recovery and life post-pandemic, Ontarians have a lot of questions. The Liberal leader admits that he was pro-vaccine and pro-vaccine passport throughout the pandemic, and says that he will continue to urge people to get vaccinated!
“The science is settled, we know that vaccines save people’s lives. That’s why we’ve taken a strong stance on this. I know people have concerns, I think it’s important for us together to work on boosting confidence, listening to the science and medical professionals that we have in this province,” Del Duca explained, adding that there are exceptions in the Ontario Human Rights Code for people who have objections to getting vaccinated, and believes that all policies in the province should adhere to that code.
Students have a lot of questions for the new provincial government as well! Student debt is on the rise, leaving many wondering how the different party leaders plan to address the issue.
“First of all, we’re going to massively increase the number of grants vs. loans. We’re going to get rid of all of the interest on student debt, so if you borrow a dollar, you only have to pay back the dollar! Not the dollar, plus, plus, plus, plus!” Del Duca explained.
“We’re also going to make sure that more families can access loans, but primarily grants,” he added, explaining that the Liberals will also waive tuition for students studying in fields where the province needs more workers, like early childhood educators and healthcare workers.
When it comes to healthcare, the Liberals plan to help rebuild the healthcare system post-COVID and have big plans to clear the surgical backlog that has built up over the pandemic.
“We will invest $1 billion over two years to clear that backlog,” Del Duca explained, saying that they will employ 100,000 new healthcare workers over six years, and introduce 3,000 new hospital beds to clear a backlog of one million patients. The Libs will also repeal the controversial Bill 124, which caps the raises of public sector employees to just 1% a year.
“First legislative priority for an Ontario Liberal government, getting rid of Bill 124, repealing it. And then making sure that our nurses, and our personal support workers and other frontline workers, the real heroes, can actually bargain for their contracts freely and fairly, the way they should,” the Liberal leader explained.
Steven Del Duca explained the Liberal plan for capping tuitions, combatting hate crimes and discrimination, as well as how he really feels about the other party leaders on this episode of News You Can Use!