Well, the votes have been counted and members have made a clear choice for leader of the Ontario PCs. Barrie MP Patrick Brown is that party’s new leader and by a significant margin over Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliott who was deputy leader under Tim Hudak.
The result reminds me of two old adages: Voters are always right; and Voters get the government/party/leader (take your choice) they deserve. These are no less true in this case.
Ordinarily, as a supporter of Christine Elliott the loser, I’d sulk for a day or two and then accept the majority decision. And, by the next election, I’d be right in there cheering the party on. In this case, though, it seems different.
I’ve been a member of the Ontario PCs more or less continuously since about 1972 and have voted for them in every general election, and in the odd by-election, since then. But I must admit that the selection to lead the party of an obscure federal back-bencher with little or nothing in the way of accomplishments is just too much for me to swallow.
I’m a conservative and will only ever vote for a party which promises fiscal conservatism, so I can’t say I’ll never vote for a Brown-led Ontario PC party. I will not, however, remain a party member. Not that I’ll be missed; the party has signed up tens of thousands of new members, who seem to want to go in a different direction than I’d prefer.
I remember when Mike Harris, who I supported, first became leader. At that time, I felt he needed to “grow” into the job before facing his first general election as leader. And he did. His professional development in a relatively short time was nothing short of amazing, and justified my confidence in him.
So perhaps Brown, who I believe is in well over his head, will also seek and follow advice and grow into his new job. Unfortunately, though, I believe that is unlikely.
And that’s a shame for Ontario needs better fiscal management than it’s getting or is likely to get over the next three years from the scandal-prone Liberals.