Watching a recording of an interview with Ontario liberal leader Steven Del Duca the other day, it seemed that he talks without showing any teeth. Never having read of any affliction or medical cause for this in humans, it seemed to be a metaphor for the man—or a turtle. In 14 months as leader, he has not seemed interested in being in the legislature. Nor does he seem eager to go mano a mano with our hapless conservative premier Doug Ford.
Since it is hardly likely that anyone on the conservative side of the legislature will call for the resignation of Ford, we might wonder why Del Duca is so reluctant. The corporal’s guard of liberals in the legislature is muted by procedures and Del Duca is in loose lock-down in the City of Vaughan.
He reminds me of the old chestnut former prime minister Stephen Harper used to use about his mother wanting him to be an accountant. The punch-line was that he felt he lacked the necessary charisma.
It all seems in defiance of the opinion polls showing the liberals hot on the heels of the provincial Tories. The provincial new democratic party hardly seems to be in the race.
But then, as it has been said before, the provincial conservatives have no concern for the struggles of the NDP.
And frankly, Ford is viewed by the public as incompetent and the pollsters are being fed the ‘anyone but Ford’ line.
But in the 13 months ahead, our turtle of a liberal leader has to shake off his shell and move more determinedly into the spotlight. Ontario citizens are looking forward to a new beginning in the aftermath of the pandemic and that requires new thinking, new ideas, new leadership and new dialogues.
It is sometimes surprising where leadership can come from. It might be a bad idea to write off Steven Del Duca too soon.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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