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Del Duca promises re-launch of basic income pilot if Liberals elected in 2022

New Ontario Liberal leader visited Thunder Bay on Wednesday
March 13, 2020

The new leader of the provincial Liberals said the party would re-launch the basic income pilot project if it forms the next Ontario government.

But Steven Del Duca admitted the Liberals have a lot of work to do before the next Ontario election, which will take place in 2022.

"We will need to find well over 100 candidates who are not currently incumbents, not currently MPP's in the legislature," Del Duca said during a visit to Thunder Bay on Wednesday. "We'll have to raise millions of dollars over the next couple of years in order to be able to go toe to toe and compete successfully with Doug Ford."

"We are going to have to develop a platform of compelling ideas that once again gives the people of the northwest, the north, and all of Ontario a sense that they can trust us to govern."

Del Duca was elected new Liberal leader on Saturday by party members. He takes over from Kathleen Wynne, who stepped down as party leader after the 2018 election.

That election decimated the Liberals, reducing them to just seven seats at Queen's Park; the Liberals don't currently have official party status.

As for priorities, Del Duca said the Liberals would re-launch the basic income pilot project if they form the next Ontario government.

"During the leadership, I did say that I was committed to relaunching the basic income pilot, which was so callously cut, and cut without warning, and cut as a broken promise by Doug Ford and his friends," Del Duca said. "But if we're elected in 2022, we will restart the basic income pilot."

Del Duca also pledged support for public education, calling it "the number-one priority of a provincial government."

"Job number one for Ontario Liberals if we win, when we win the next election campaign, will be to restore the supports and the programming that existed at all levels, including college, university, taken up a trade, all of it.

"I want class sizes to remain small," he said. "If you want to go to college or university if you have the marks if you have the capacity to go you should not be held back because you don't have the money."

Del Duca also said the Liberals would work to make sure anyone in Ontario can access a doctor or nurse practitioner within 48 hours, no matter where they live.

And, he said, he's a "big believer in pharmacare," and details about a provincial pharmacare plan would be released in the coming months, as the platform is developed.