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Monday, January 19, 2015

Progressive Conservative Leadership Candidate Patrick Brown Vows Purge of Party Brass if Elected

In some of the harshest criticism leveled at his own party's elite, Patrick Brown vowed what amounts to a purge of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party's old leadership if he is elected as the party's new standard bearer.

At a campaign stop at a downtown Toronto hotel yesterday morning, referring to the Ontario PC leadership that took the party into the last four general election losses, Brown said, "I'm not going to tweak the party, I'm going to clean house." Without mentioning them by name, Brown continued to level blistering condemnation of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party's current group of strategists and leaders, whom he essentially characterized as out-of-touch and self-interested.

"The one thing they're good at is scoring own-goals," quipped Brown, referring to proposals such as firing 100,000 civil servants and and faith-based education funding the Ontario Conservatives put forward as cornerstones of Tim Hudak and John Tory's respective election platforms, and which had sabotaged the party's hopes of victory.

Brown charged that those policy's were imposed on the party by a leadership which hadn't consulted with the membership base and he maintains if they had, it would have been rejected by them. "Let's face it, being a Progressive Conservative in Ontario was a tough sell the last few elections, and it's understandable why. We have leadership that doesn't listen."

Concern that Ontario's Progressive Conservative policy under Tim Hudak was perceived as merely being blind rejection was a large part of Brown's commitment to policy reform.

"The leadership of the party said they were going to vote against the Liberals budget before they even read it. It's no wonder we have the perception of being a party that just says 'no' all the time, " said Brown.  Promising what is reflective of The Third Way approach which was utilized to enormous success by US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brown committed to use policy ideas from the opposition parties when they served the best interests of the province.

Brown also committed to re-engage with unions that he believes shares the goals and values of the reformed and reinvigorated Progressive Conservative party he hopes to lead. "Nurses, police, and firefighters unions all have great ideas that we should be utilizing in our platform, " Brown told the gathering, committing to try to recruit some of the leaders of those professions' unions as candidates in the next election.

Another issue Brown focused on was education reform. "We need to get back to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Kathleen Wynne has only proposed one change to education; to change sex ed to the curriculum that Dalton McGuinty threw out." Brown was referring to the Sex Education curriculum what was created under the direction of Deputy Education Minister Ben Levin which Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to introduce into Ontario schools. The curriculum was widely criticized for introducing graphic sexual content to children at what is considered by many to be the inappropriate ages of 7 and 8. Making the curriculum even more disturbing is that Levin, who was in effect its architect, was criminally charged with a series of child abuse and pornography offenses of which his lawyer recently declared there will be a guilty plea to some.

Continuing on the topic of public education, Brown remarked, "Rather than a focus on sex ed, we should be teaching kids financial literacy and how to balance a chequebook. Skills that they'll need in life." One of the observers at the meeting was then overheard quietly saying that "Kathleen Wynne will never go for that. If we teach kids how to balance a chequebook, by the next election, the average fifth grader will know more about economics than her Finance Minister."

There are five declared candidates for Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party leadership, of whom Brown and Christine Elliott, the popular widow of the late federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, are considered the front runners. Of the five, all are sitting members of the provincial legislature except for Brown, who is currently the federal member of Parliament for Barrie. Framing it a battle between the old guard represented by Elliott and the new represented by him, Brown said that the provincial party needs to take a cue from the federal conservatives who have successfully engaged with the diverse ethnic communities in Ontario, something at which the Ontario Tories have failed so far.

"I've been all across the province, speaking to every one of our rich and diverse community groups, " Brown told the small crowd. "We can't just be the party of angry old white men. If we're going to win, we have to not just preach to those already in the tent, but reach out to everyone in the province."


Robert Viera said...

Didn't Brown recently trumpet an endorsement of his campaign from former Ontario PC Party President Ken Zeise? I'll bet Zeise is not on Brown's list of enemies to be purged.

Brown seemed to be on-board with Tim Hudak's public sector job-cutting agenda when he tweeted this on April 9, 2013:

"At Ontario PC Leaders Dinner in Toronto. It is great to hear @timhudak plan for debt reduction, infrastructure investment & smaller gov."

Brown didn't seem to have a problem with public funding of private faith-based schools when he announced $460,350 in federal funding for arena upgrades at the faith-based private high school in Toronto that he attended.

Brown's record of having voted for federal legislation aimed at embarrassing unions and for back-to-work legislation will make him a tough sell to union members.

I guess the topic of sex must make Brown squeamish, as he skipped 9 meetings of the federal justice committee, which was studying the federal government's new prostitution legislation in July, or perhaps he was just too busy plotting for the Ontario PC leadership to do the job taxpayers are paying him for.

Brown didn't seems too squeamish about the sexual exploitation charges facing one of his early big donors. Between 2004 and and 2006, Brown's federal campaigns accepted $6,000 in contributions from Peter Brian Budd, who had been previous charged. Brown riding association also received more than $1,000 from Budd up to 2009.

Richard K said...

Wow, going back to your site, it looks like you've been maintaining a blog with a hard-on for Brown for 5 years. That's some dedication!

I don't know if everyone in the province will share your evidently keen interest in prostitution legislation, but as far as unions go, there's lots of rank and file support for him among many union members. Sure, not among the Sid Ryan, old-school union boss types that have, for many, made unions synonymous with waste and greed, but within the nurses and firefighters' unions and others, he has tremendous support.

Robert Viera said...

I think people in the province will share my keen interest in electing a premier who doesn't abandon his day job to campaign for another job while still collecting his salary.

There's no one more synonymous with waste and greed than career politicians like Brown. It's remarkable that a backbencher who's spent $814,342.02 of the federal taxpayers' money on ads and flyers still has almost no name recognition in Ontario.

The other parties in Ontario would have a field day in an election with a PC Party led by Brown. Imagine a forty-year-old party leader with a gold-plated MP pension campaigning against an Ontario pension plan for ordinary working stiffs.

Working people in Ontario would take one look at Brown and size him up for what he is, a career politician who's spent his entire adult life trying to get on and stay on the public payroll without having ever had a real job.

Richard K said...

He's actually only 36.

And in a province where a complete incompetent who was behind the Gas Plant scandal and other almost unimaginable bungles like Kathleen Wynne can get reelected with a majority, I wouldn't be upset about Brown's comparative history.

And with elections, like it or not, you can't order off the menu. You only have the choices in front of you, and Brown is a substantially better candidate than his rivals, both within the PC leadership campaign and considerably so compared to the Premier and NDP leadership.