Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca set to lose as PCs gain momentum in GTA

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca is expected to lose his candidacy Thursday to win back the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge north of Toronto.

CBC News projects Progressive Conservative incumbent Michael Tibollo as the winner. Tibollo ousted Del Duca, a former cabinet minister in Kathleen Wynne’s government, from that seat in the 2018 Ontario election.

The news comes on a bitterly disappointing night for Del Duca’s Liberals as Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives head for a second majority government in Ontario, according to plans from CBC News’ decision desk. Meanwhile, the Liberals are only leading by a handful of seats.

For an up-to-date list of results across Ontario as results are tallied, visit CBC News Election Results Tracker.

Del Duca became leader of the Ontario Liberals in March 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since operated without a seat in Queen’s Park. He hoped this election would mark a comeback for both him and the Liberal Party, which was reduced to a distant third in the Legislative Assembly four years ago when Doug Ford’s Conservatives won a big victory in the province.

Del Duca lost that 2018 battle with Tibollo by 8,000 votes.

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are heading for a second majority government in Ontario, according to plans from CBC News’ policy office. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Tibollo served as cabinet minister throughout the last four-year term, but was twice demoted to lesser posts. Ford campaigned for him in his constituency to retain his seat.

On May 20, Del Duca told reporters he would win back the riding. He first won it in a by-election in 2012.

The last time a leader of one of Ontario’s three main parties did not win a seat in a general election was in 2007, when then-PC leader John Tory lost in Don Valley West. The winner of that race was Liberal Kathleen Wynne, who became prime minister six years later.

Meanwhile, PCs are gaining momentum in the Greater Toronto Area as they seek to retain critical seats in Mississauga and win seats in Brampton. In 2018, PCs won nearly every riding in the Greater Toronto Area, except for three in Brampton that elected NDP MPs.

PCs should sweep Brampton, Mississauga

The Progressive Conservatives are expected to sweep Brampton and much of the rest of the Greater Toronto Area with it. PCs are expected to win Brampton West and Brampton South again, seats held by Amarjot Sandhu and Prabmeet Sarkaria respectively. They also lead in Brampton Center and Brampton East, two seats that were previously held by the NDP.

Former councilor Charmaine Williams is expected to win the Brampton Centre, which was held by NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh.

Hardeep Grewal is expected to win Brampton East, taking the seat from Gurratan Singh, the brother of federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Brampton North, which was an NDP seat until Kevin Yarde became independent, is expected to be won by Graham McGregor.

During the campaign, Ford touted proposed Highway 413 and more hospital beds as reasons why Brampton voters should choose the PC party. The results show that this approach worked.

Meanwhile, the Liberals won no seats in the GTA.

Brampton’s sweep extends to Peel as PCs are expected to win all six Mississauga ridings. The Liberals had campaigned hard in Mississauga, including the last day of the campaign when Del Duca visited the city. Several Liberal candidates are expected to come second in their riding races in the city west of Toronto.

York Region’s eight constituencies are expected to remain in the PC column, while four of Durham’s five constituencies are also expected to remain in the PC column.

However, Oshawa is poised to buck the Progressive Conservative tide, as NDP candidate Jennifer French is expected to retain her seat for a second straight term.

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