Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca made his second visit to Ottawa on Friday, marking the halfway point in the Ontario election campaign by committing a Liberal government to funding the city’s third stage LRT construction and again blasting Doug Ford’s handling of the Ottawa occupation.
“Four years ago, Doug Ford told everyone he was for the people and that’s still the biggest fraud he perpetrated during the course of that campaign,” Del Duca said.
“He’s not for the people living here in Ottawa, who he abandoned during their most dire moment of need.”
During the convoy protest, “Doug Ford was nowhere to be seen,” he said.
Speaking to supporters and media at Innovation Hub Ottawa on Slater Street, and flanked by nine Ottawa-area Liberal candidates, Del Duca reiterated the party’s commitment of two years of “a buck a ride” public transit fares and a 50-per-cent funding of Ottawa’s regional transport plan, including the Stage 3 LRT construction. A provincial inquiry into the constrained construction and the repeated failures of the Confederation Line will be held soon. However, Del Duca stated that the party’s commitment to funding Ottawa’s regional transport plan, including Stage 3 LRT construction, would continue regardless of its findings.
“That’s why I specifically said ‘applying the lessons learned from what took place in stages 1 and 2,'” he said.
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“I know it’s been tough on a lot of Ottawa residents, what they’ve seen occur with transit. It is time to find out how we can improve our transit system. Transit systems must work where they are operating. So if you happen to have cold weather, the system has to work in cold weather.”
The Liberal plan also includes funding to bring home care to 26,000 seniors in the region, 10,000 more units of affordable housing and a promise to complete construction of The Ottawa Hospital’s new Civic campus by 2028.
Asked if the Liberals would bow to opponents objecting to the hospital’s building site on the Central Experimental Farm near Dow’s Lake, Del Duca said, “No.”
“Moving away from plans slows everything down and I don’t believe here in Ottawa we can afford to be slowed down.”
The Liberals have solid hold on three of the Ottawa’s seven ridings and strong support in two others: Ottawa Centre, which went NDP in 2018, and Ottawa West-Nepean, in which the Conservatives won by just 175 votes over the NDP with the Liberals a close third.
A Nanos Research poll conducted May 16-17 showed Ford’s Progressive Conservatives solidly in first place with 36.1 per cent of the popular vote, followed by Del Duca and the Liberals at 29.3 per cent, the NDP under leader Andrea Horwath at 19.8 per cent and the Green Party and leader Mike Schreiner at 7.3 per cent. The poll, commissioned by CTV News and CP24, surveyed 500 Ontarians and is considered accurate to within 4.4 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Del Duca was to visit St-Albert cheese later Friday before ending the day in Kingston.
Advance polls opened Thursday for the election, which takes place on June 2.
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