Canada

Steven Del Duca’s Liberals say attack ads from Premier Doug Ford are a badge of honour

As Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives hit the airwaves with attack ads aimed at Steven Del Duca, the Liberals are finding solace in the wisdom of Oscar Wilde.

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about,” the Irish author and poet famously wrote in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in 1891.

Ford’s Tories unleashed radio spots attacking the Liberal leader on Monday, eight months before the June 2 election.

“Remember life under Kathleen Wynne? Steven Del Duca wants to take us back. He was Wynne’s right-hand man when they sent your hydro bills sky rocketing and sold Hydro One, all while liberal insiders got rich,” the radio ad intones.

“He sat in cabinet while good-paying jobs fled the province, remained idle while creating only 611 new long-term beds, leaving our most vulnerable unprepared for the pandemic,” it continues.

“Ontario crumbled under Kathleen Wynne and Steven Del Duca, let’s not go back.

Mindful of a separate pre-election onslaught looming from Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, the Liberals are claiming the attacks are a badge of honour.

In an internal memo Tuesday to Liberal caucus and candidates from campaign director Christine McMillan, the third-place party welcomes the attention.

“Doug Ford’s Conservatives have now joined the NDP in running attack ads against our leader, Steven Del Duca,” wrote McMillan,

“Neither has a positive plan to make life better by making our classrooms safe, providing working families with affordable day care, or helping small businesses,” continued the veteran strategist.

“Instead, the NDP and now Doug Ford’s Conservatives are turning to their old playbook — attacking the only party with a positive plan trying to help the people of Ontario,” she said, insisting the Grits alone “are fighting for parents, for our most vulnerable, and for front-line workers.”

“In June, Ontarians will have a choice between the divisive attacks of two parties desperate for power, or the positive, forward-looking Ontario Liberal plan.”

Del Duca has said his party would not air attack ads targeting Ford or Horwath in the upcoming campaign.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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