Today, Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, released the following statement:
“Each year in January, Ontario celebrates Tamil Heritage Month, a time for us all to recognize the Tamil community’s spectacular achievements and accomplishments right here in Ontario.
Tamil Ontarians have dedicated so much to help make Ontario a better place for everyone, and there is no greater example of this than those from the Tamil community who selflessly stepped up to keep us all safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it was working on the frontlines or helping administer vaccines, we can all be grateful for this immense dedication and service.
While celebrations this month will once again look different because of the pandemic, I know that the Tamil community will continue to find new and unique ways to celebrate, and I look forward to once again participating during this important time of year.
On behalf of myself and the Ontario Liberal Party, I want to wish everyone a very happy Tamil Heritage Month!”
TORONTO – Ontario Liberals are blasting Doug Ford for yet another school year being thrown into chaos because of his incompetence.
“Doug Ford’s last minute, two-day delay to re-open schools won’t do anything to keep our kids safe,” stated Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “Ontario Liberals called for HEPA filters and high quality masks to be urgently deployed in classrooms nearly two months ago but Doug Ford refused to do it when it mattered most. It feels like the Ford Government went on holiday while Omicron surged.”
Earlier this week, Ontario Liberals demanded answers after Doug Ford went missing while he should have been preparing schools for a safe reopening. Del Duca pointed to the following measures that still haven’t been taken:
Making the COVID vaccine a universal requirement for students through the Immunization of School Pupils Act, and running in-school clinics to ensure access.
Establishing a rapid testing program in schools.
Providing high quality masks for free to each student.
Shrinking class sizes by making use of gyms and community spaces as temporary classrooms.
Implementing strong vaccine mandates for education workers while prioritizing them for boosters.
Launching an education campaign to combat misinformation and promote vaccine confidence among parents.
“Students and parents deserve so much better than Doug Ford’s incompetent scrambling,” added Del Duca. “His reckless response to the fifth wave is disrupting another school year and putting us all in danger.”
TORONTO – Ontario Liberals are calling out the Ford Government’s inaction on school safety that could lead to more closures. Alongside a group of candidates who have kids, Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca pointed out several urgent measures that could have helped keep schools open.
“Doug Ford’s incompetent pandemic management has already disrupted two school years for our kids,” stated Del Duca. “As the father of two daughters attending public schools, I understand the anxiety parents are facing right now, and I can’t believe Doug Ford let it get to this point again.”
Ontario Liberals would have taken the following action to keep schools safe:
Make the COVID vaccine a universal requirement for students through the Immunization of School Pupils Act, and run in-school clinics to ensure access.
Ensure every classroom has HEPA filtration.
Establish a rapid testing program in schools.
Provide high quality masks for free to each student and education worker.
Shrink class sizes by making use of gyms and community spaces as temporary classrooms.
Implement strong vaccine mandates for education workers while prioritizing them for boosters.
Launch an education campaign to combat misinformation and promote vaccine confidence among parents.
“The Ford Government refused to do anything on school safety in the months leading up to the fifth wave and now they’re asleep at the wheel,” added Del Duca. “If our kids are robbed of another year in school it’s because Doug Ford ignored the experts and the science. He focused on his re-election campaign instead of the fight against COVID-19.”
HUSBAND, FATHER, SPORTS ENTHUSIAST AND MPP FOR ORLÉANS
Stephen has dedicated much of his professional life to public service to the residents of Orléans and Cumberland.
Stephen was elected MPP for Orléans on February 27, 2020 in a by-election. Shortly after being elected, the Government of Ontario declared the COVID-19 emergency.
Prior to serving as MPP, Stephen represented much of Orléans as City Councillor for Cumberland Ward on Ottawa City Council.
Stephen was first elected Councillor for Cumberland Ward with a strong mandate on October 25, 2010.
Stephen quickly made his mark securing early victories by having the City of Ottawa conduct an environmental assessment to widen HWY 174 and to extend Light Rail Transit to Orléans.
By the end of his second term Stephen had secured more than $100M in road and infrastructure investments for both the rural and urban sectors of his ward.
In addition to his focus on reducing commute times through investments in roads and transit, Blais prioritized local park construction.
In his first term of office 7 new parks were built in Cumberland Ward and Blais announced the ambitious plan to partner with the local homebuilding industry to complete an $8 million expansion of Millennium Park.
Stephen also led the way to open the first new indoor pool in Ottawa since amalgamation with the construction of the François Dupuis Recreation Centre.
Stephen was re-elected in October 2014 with over 78% of the vote.
On December 10, 2014 Ottawa City Council named Blais as Chair of the Ottawa Transit Commission, the body responsible for overseeing OC Transpo.
While Chair of the Transit Commission OC Transpo has provided better and more affordable options to Ottawa residents. New service was added to Orléans expanding communities of Avalon and Cardinal Creek Village. Transit Commission eliminated the Express Fare premium, saving riders nearly $300 a year. The Transit Commission also introduced the EquiPass & EquiFare to provide deep discounts for low income residents.
Stephen was re-elected City Councillor for Cumberland Ward on October 22, 2018 with 89% of the vote. Each election, Stephen’s support has grown larger (from 52% in 2010, 78% in 2014).
On December 12, 2018 Ottawa City Council named Blais as Chair of the Transportation Committee. During his time as Chair, the Committee approved the Road Safety Action Plan to reduce road deaths and make communities safer for pedestrians and cyclists. They approved photo radar in school and community safety zones to help keep our children safe and invested millions more in snow removal.
In 2018, after years of groundwork, Stephen was pleased to help make the biggest jobs announcement in the history of east Ottawa.
Amazon has partnered with Broccolini Construction to establish a 1 million square foot fulfilment centre in Carlsbad Springs. This represented a private sector investment of $200 million in Orléans. It created 1,500 jobs in 30 different trades during construction, and more than 600 permanent jobs once opened in 2019.
Prior to his election as Councillor, Stephen faithfully served the residents of Orléans and Cumberland as their School Trustee on the Ottawa Catholic School Board from 2006 until 2010.
As a Catholic School Trustee, Stephen’s approach of fiscal conservatism balanced with a community conscience enabled him to deliver many local and board-wide accomplishments.
In September 2010, after decades of inaction, two East End high schools, St. Matthew’s and Lester B. Pearson, finally received additions to replace many of their aging portables, as a result of Stephen’s tireless efforts.
During his term as Trustee, the Board passed four consecutive balanced budgets, grew reserve funds, adopted a greener approach and invested in the most vulnerable students. Stephen cites his decision to forgo the 150% trustee raise, which he personally donated to breast cancer awareness, supports for military families, the school breakfast program and a bursary for less affluent students, as his most important achievement.
Prior to his elected positions, Stephen’s steadfast belief in community service saw him help begin the St. Peter High School Alumni Association followed by sitting as President of the Queenswood Heights Community Association. Stephen also served as Orléans Ward representative on the City of Ottawa’s youth cabinet and as an inaugural member of the East End President’s Council.
Stephen’s professional career began following his graduation from the University of Ottawa with an Honours Degree in Political Science. He has worked at the Privy Council Office, served the people of Ontario as a staff member to the Minister of Consumer and Business Services and has worked at the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Carleton University.
A lifelong resident of Ottawa’s East End, Stephen was raised in the Queenswood Heights and Fallingbrook area. Stephen, his wife Marta, a northern Ontarian, and their son Stephen Jr., are proud residents of the wonderfully bilingual and diverse community of Chaperal.
The Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) has launched its new #TakeTheMic platform consultation tool, as the next step in preparing for the 2022 election. #TakeTheMic offers grassroots Ontario Liberals a greater level of influence on party policy.
“I promised to change the way Ontario Liberals build their platform so that grassroots members could be heard,” said OLP Leader, Steven Del Duca. “For the first time in a long time, the Party’s leadership is simply going to listen.”
#TakeTheMic will roll out over the coming months, with two new policy topics being added to the website every week for members to weigh in on. The first week will focus on “Fixing Long-Term Care”and “Economic Dignity”.
“Ontario Liberals are building a grassroots led platform that will align with the values and aspirations of the people of this great province,” said platform co-chair and MPP, Michael Coteau. “Our consultation will help bring forward ideas that will best position Ontario to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
“Ontarians want a government focused on bold ideas, not bumper sticker slogans,” said platform co-chair, Kate Graham. “We’re making sure that our 2022 platform is a direct reflection of everyday Ontarians and the ideas they have for their province.”