Back on May 9, 2015, I wrote that Patrick Brown’s election as leader of the Ontario PCs reminded me of an old adage: Voters get the leader they deserve, which is my variation on Joseph de Maistre’s 1811 quote: “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”
At that time I wrote that “I believe [Mr. Brown] is in well over his head…,” referring to Mr. Brown’s then recent emergence from relative obscurity as an Ottawa Tory backbencher who had accomplished little or nothing of substance after nearly a decade in Ottawa. Prior to that I wrote:
In contrast, I don’t see how Patrick Brown improves the Ontario PCs’ prospects beyond those we had under Tim Hudak. Neither do I find anything about him inspiring, nor do I see enough difference between the tone of his politics and that of the past two PC election platforms to give rise to my hope of another Ontario PC government in my lifetime.”
In May 2015, I also expressed my hope the Mr. Brown would “grow into his new job,” while, at the same time, predicting, “Unfortunately, though, I believe that is unlikely.”
Alas, I seem to have been accurate in my assessment, something that gives me little comfort as it will almost certainly lead to a ruinous extension of the term of office of the scandal-prone Liberals and more of their irresponsible fiscal management.
It seems clear that it was Patrick Brown’s successful pandering to the social conservative wing of the Ontario PCs that won the day for him. He promised, for example, to “repeal” the Liberals’ then proposed sex-ed curriculum. Former Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliott pretty much owned the progressive vote, such as it was.
It is somewhat ironic that increasing opposition to his leadership is coming mainly from that segment of his party. And his flip-flop-double-cross on the sex-ed curriculum is not his only challenge from that quarter. Brown’s decision to support putting a price on carbon has not resonated well with many of his former supporters.
Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun also reports:
Brown has other issues as well. The party has major debt that sources say is not shrinking, and riding association people tell me they want more decisiveness and consistency from Brown, who has been saying in radio interviews he is attempting to ‘build a modern PC party’.”
So, about 18 months in and already there is considerable dissatisfaction with Mr. Brown’s leadership, which is sad news since there seems little prospect of an alternative showing up, getting elected as PC leader and winning the next general election.
For example, Mr. Warmington tells us Doug Ford, Frank Klees and Lisa MacLeod are names being floated as potential replacements, and that’s sad news indeed for all Ontarians. Lisa MacLeod, perhaps, but as for the other two, let’s hope Mr. Warmington is testing our sense of humour.