Pre-campaign, the Conservatives and NDP have been trying to depict Steven Del Duca as Kathleen Wynne’s incompetent and corrupt right-hand man. Now that the campaign has begun, Del Duca has finally started to tell his own story.
He tells his story in five short videos on the Ontario Liberal Party YouTube channel, grouped together as a playlist with the title “Who I Am.” While each video concludes with a political message, they all begin with a story about his family. The first two that were introduced, “Circle of Support” and “Showing Up,” feature his wife Utilia Amaral, and their two daughters. “Economic Dignity” features his parents. The final two videos deal with adversity, “Resilience,” about the death of his younger brother four years ago in a traffic accident, and “Strength,” about Utilia’s successful struggle with stage 3 melanoma.
The Exception, not the Rule
What is commendable, remarkable even, about these videos is the willingness of all three generations of the Del Duca family to relinquish their privacy and participate. The children seem at ease with their parents and Del Duca and his parents exude mutual respect and love. And both Del Duca and Amaral are willing to talk about the worst challenges life can pose. Aspects of their story are reminiscent of the Biden’s story.
Canadians generally respect the privacy of politicians’ personal lives, and Canadian politicians generally do not include family in much of their messaging. So Del Duca’s family story is an exception. One might put it down to a desire of a hitherto low-profile party leader to make a quick impression in a race where his major opponents are well-known. Still, making that choice of message is indicative that his family were comfortable engaging politically.
Del Duca’s involvement of his family presents a sharp contrast to Andrea Horwath and Doug Ford’s silence about their families. Horwath writes about her hard-working immigrant family of origin on the NDP website. She has a son from a long relationship that has now fractured. Doug Ford’s extended family is famously dysfunctional and Ford himself bears the burden of a daughter who is an anti-vaxxer. The less said the better.
Does Family Matter?
Political campaigns are generally won and lost on politicians’ records and platforms. Both Ford and Horwath have long records and comprehensive platforms, and now Del Duca at least has the platform.
Del Duca’s “Who I am” series of videos have so far had modest uptake, with the highest viewcount for any of them at approximately 1500. If Del Duca’s campaign starts to catch on, voters will want to learn a bit more about who this Del Duca guy is, and will start watching these videos. And what they see here is bound to make him a more attractive candidate.