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Steven Del Duca steps down as leader of Ontario Liberal Party

The Ontario Liberals suffered a disastrous night on Thursday, barely climbing out of “minivan” party status with their leader Steven Del Duca losing in his hometown and calling it quits.

CTV News projects that Del Duca’s Liberals will remain the third party in the 43rd provincial parliament, with Doug Ford winning a second majority term as premier by a considerable margin.

The NDP will remain the province’s official opposition, CTV News projects.

Speaking to supporters in Vaughan, Del Duca said it was time for him to pack it in.

“I have no doubt that the women and men we have elected will do their part, more than their part to grow a new progressive movement in this province,” he said. “It will however, be a movement that will be led by a new leader – earlier this evening I informed our party president of my intention to step down.”

He said he asked party president Brian Johns to conduct a leadership race “as soon as is reasonable.”

The Liberals' showing is a slight improvement from four years ago when they won only seven seats and could not secure the access and privileges that come with official party status at Queen’s Park.

They are elected or leading in eight seats.

Del Duca lost to incumbent PC candidate Michael Tibollo in Vaughan-Woodbridge, who also bested Del Duca in the same riding in 2018.

Tibollo beat Del Duca by 3,858 votes.

The Grits appear to have performed below the average suggested by the most recent polls.

Del Duca was first elected to provincial office in 2012, and served as transportation and economic development minister in the Wynne government between 2014 and 2018.

He became leader of the party in a 2020 contest quickly overshadowed by the arrival of COVID-19 in Canada.

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