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Del Duca names high-profile Liberal strategist to help with rebuilding the party
March 12, 2020
Robert Benzie

New Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca is turning to the architect of former premier Dalton McGuinty’s electoral dynasty to help rebuild the Grits, the Star has learned.

Del Duca is to announce Thursday that high-profile strategist Don Guy will chair his transition team.

Guy, who helped transform McGuinty from a runner-up to the Progressive Conservatives in the 1999 election to the winner of the 2003, 2007, and 2011 campaigns, now runs Pollara Strategic Insights.

“Don brings an incredible mix of insight and experience to the task that lies ahead,” said Del Duca, who won almost 59 per cent of the vote in a first-ballot victory at the Liberal leadership convention on Saturday.

I’m delighted that he has agreed to play a critically important role in the next phase of our rebuilding efforts,” he said.

Guy, who is well-regarded in Grit circles, also ran former B.C. Liberal premier Christy Clark’s victorious 2013 campaign.

He was not involved in former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s campaigns in 2014 or 2018.

Other transition team members will be announced in the days ahead.

Del Duca is also appointing Najva Amin as his chief of staff.

Amin has worked with him for seven years and she was his acting chief when he was economic development minister in Wynne’s government in 2018.

As disclosed by the Star on Sunday, Del Duca, who does not have a seat in the legislature, will make it official that MPP John Fraser (Ottawa South), who had served as interim leader, will lead the party in the house.

“John has done a magnificent job of leading our efforts at Queen’s Park,” said Del Duca.

“I know that he will continue to work closely with our caucus to hold Doug Ford and the Conservatives to account for their reckless and incompetent agenda that is taking Ontario badly off-track.”

Ford’s Tories ended almost 15 years of Liberal government in the 2018 election. The Grits have just eight MPPs in the legislature, four shy of official party status.

There are 73 PC MPPs, including Speaker Ted Arnott, who does not caucus with the government, 40 New Democrats, two former Tories sitting as Independents, and one Green.

Del Duca said he will not be seeking a seat in the house unless his old riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge, currently held by junior health minister Michael Tibollo, is vacated and a byelection held.