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Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"
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Author:  BeaverFever [ Tue May 12, 2015 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"

Meet Patrick Who, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative leader

The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, May. 11 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
Last updated Monday, May. 11 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

The only thing that is absolutely certain about Patrick Brown, the new Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, is that he loves the political process. He has attended an enormous number of community events, everywhere from his federal riding in Barrie, Ont., to the state of Gujarat in India – where he made a particularly rewarding connection with the future president of India, Narendra Modi.

Long-time MPP and relatively moderate Christine Elliott was expected to easily win the leadership when the campaign began, but Mr. Brown’s relentless contact-making, politicking and membership-selling put him far ahead in the end.

Mr. Brown was rather a silent MP in Ottawa, so it’s hard to make out what he stands for. There is evidence of his being a social conservative, but on becoming leader, he was quick to say he would not revisit divisive social issues. He now calls himself a pragmatic conservative, and he points out that he has attended Gay Pride events in Barrie.

His surprising campaign has drawn attention to the fact that there are no limits to campaign contributions from any single person or corporation in Ontario party leadership races – a situation that needs to change. His larger donors range from the proprietor of Canada Cannabis Corp. to the owner of the Barrie Colts hockey team, to an onion-farming corporation and the owner of a chain of hotels across Canada.

The Ontario Liberals have been in power ever since 2003. In the past two provincial elections, the Conservatives, led by Tim Hudak, offered a platform and a tone modelled on what got them Mike Harris elected in the mid-1990s. It might as well have been called Common Sense Revolution II. They are still in opposition.

Mr. Brown needs to win a seat in the Legislature before long, but more importantly, he needs to articulate a substantial reason why people should vote for his party, one that is neither dogmatic nor vacuous. The next election is not until 2018, but the province needs an Official Opposition that can present a serious alternative to the Liberals. There’s a strong suspicion that Mr. Brown will try to win the next election by essentially repeating the strategy of the past two, or possibly running even further to the right, and doing even less to attract voters beyond the base. That would be a mistake. He and his party have three years to think it over ... e24378623/

‎What the Ontario PC leadership race revealed about the party

TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, May. 10 2015, 2:01 PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, May. 10 2015, 2:04 PM EDT

After the scorched-earth battle for the Progressive Conservative crown, you can hardly blame the many Tories who want to move on immediately and never speak again of the last 10 months.

But the leadership crucible revealed a lot about the party, both good and bad.


The 905 problem
Maybe it should have been obvious after the last election how deficient the Tories’ appeal is in the Toronto suburbs. After all, the PCs won just two seats in this vote-rich area, dubbed the 905 after its area code.

But it took Patrick Brown’s decisive leadership win to bring home why. During the race, he frequently accused the provincial PCs of not making enough of an effort to send caucus members to community events and build an organization in the area. And he should know: as a federal MP, he has spent much of the last nine years doing the painstaking work of building relationships with the communities, particularly new Canadians, in this diverse region.

He did the same for his leadership campaign, signing up a substantial chunk of his 41,000 new members in the 905. He won most of the area’s ridings decisively.

Yes, a leadership race is very different from a general election. But grassroots organizing is an important part of both. And it is particularly vital in an area like this, a battleground that typically decides both federal and provincial elections.

The party (still) hasn’t figured out how to deal with social conservatives
During the lead-up to the last election, Tim Hudak put the party’s focus so thoroughly on the economy that social issues dropped off the radar.

But they’re back.

Not only is Mr. Brown himself a social conservative – he voted to reopen the abortion debate while a federal MP – but he made a concerted push to rally them as a force in the party, largely by stoking the uproar over the Liberal government’s sexual education curriculum.

MPP Monte McNaughton, who also sought the leadership until he dropped out last month to support Mr. Brown, went a step further. He made public statements (such as accusing leadership hopeful Christine Elliott of trying to build a “little pink tent”) that were regarded by some in the party as homophobic. He denied this was his intent, but his critics accused him of dog whistling to bigots.

One of Mr. Brown’s supporters, MPP Rick Nicholls, even declared in the legislature that he does not believe in evolution.

It all had the effect of exposing serious divisions in the party. Moderate MPPs, including Lisa MacLeod and Todd Smith, publicly condemned the social conservative outbursts, as did many rank-and-file party members. The day after Mr. McNaughton’s “little pink tent” comment, several of his colleagues showed up in pink scarves, ties and shirts in Question Period in protest. The party whip, Steve Clark, gave Mr. Nicholls a dressing down after his evolution comment.

Following his victory Saturday, Mr. Brown tried to take all of this off the table by promising not to revisit social conservative issues as leader.

But that might be more easily said than done. The social conservatism Mr. Brown displayed was a part of the reason he won the leadership, including his inroads into new Canadian communities, and it will be tough to keep these constituencies behind him while downplaying the issues that brought them onto his team in the first place.

The party (still) has a thing for blokeish leaders
With his glib one-liners and tough-talking platform, Mr. Hudak often came off as a smug frat boy. Such a characterization was probably unfair – a dedicated family man, Mr. Hudak is warm and likeable in person. But to the cameras, he read as a guy’s-guy, and struggled to convince women to vote for the party.

After last year’s election loss, the conventional wisdom went, the PCs would inevitably turn to a different kind of leader. This is in part why the party establishment rallied to the soft-spoken Christine Elliott and her emphasis on social policy.

Things didn’t exactly turn out as expected.

Mr. Brown, a Red Bull-swilling hockey player and runner, looks even more like a dude-bro than the man he’s replacing.

To his credit, no one seems to realize this more than Mr. Brown. During his campaign, he repeatedly promised not to pick the sorts of fights – with organized labour and government workers – that Mr. Hudak did. At his victory party Saturday, he praised Ms. Elliott and said she would play an important role in his caucus.

Whether he can make good on these intentions will be one of the key tests in crafting his image as a leader..... ... e24358928/

And for a Toronto Star columnist's take:

Ontario PCs pick a pro-lifer to lead their rebirth: Cohn

While Patrick Brown's CV might seem unimpressive, underestimating him would be a mistake.

By:Martin Regg Cohn Provincial Politics, Published on Sat May 09 2015

Political conventions are all about renewal and rebirth.

But a 10-month race for the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, which culminated this weekend with the election of Patrick Brown, was less about resurrection than revelation:

The provincial Tories revealed themselves to be in far worse condition than anyone had ever fathomed.

Now, under the unknown Brown — a right-leaning, pro-life, anti-gay-marriage social conservative — the PCs may be in bigger trouble than previously imagined. Never mind the last four election losses, and the virtual disappearance of the PCs from the GTA’s electoral map.

All that was well known.

Who knew that the once-proud party had dwindled to barely 10,000 members last year from a peak of 100,000? Who could have known that its most influential MPPs — and its deputy leader, Christine Elliott — would prove to be such uninspiring campaigners, leaving the race wide open to an unknown challenger?

Patrick Brown knew.

Even if no one had heard of him, Brown knew better than anyone that the party was so moribund that only a modicum of organizational savvy could produce a successful takeover. All he needed was an army of instant Tories.

How did he know? Brown is a lifetime Tory who headed its youth wing as a teenager, became a city councillor while in university, and rode the Stephen Harper wave to Ottawa as MP from Barrie. At 36, the PC Party is the story of his life.

Unseasoned and unheralded on Parliament Hill, untapped for cabinet, Brown had something else that counted for more: An unrivalled ability to count, selling memberships by the tens of thousands at $10 a head.

He out-hired, out-organized, outhustled, outsold and outmanoeuvred his competitors — whose lack of competitiveness made his march to victory a romp.

Brown went where no Ontario PCs had gone before in any numbers. He deserves full credit for copying the federal Conservative playbook by meeting and greeting and wooing and recruiting people in every church, temple, mosque and synagogue he could find across the province — proven vectors for reaching congregations that still congregate in person.

There is nothing wrong — and much that is good — in opening up a party that was too old, too white, too WASP and too rural to reflect modern Ontario and its urban voting base.

Brown was also backed by Christian evangelicals and the Campaign Life Coalition because he’d once voted to bring in new laws on abortion and revisit the legalization of gay marriage. He pandered shamelessly to opponents of the sex education curriculum, securing the support of social conservatives. And he was strongly supported by members of the Ontario Landowners’ Association, a libertarian movement that wants to get government off the land of landowners.

For all those reasons, Brown had an unbeatable advantage that allowed him to overtake his slow-moving rivals and take over the party. By all those measures, he deserved to win the PC leadership.

But does the PC party — and the province — deserve better than a driven organizer with no evident grasp of public policy, and no compelling life story? Selling 40,000 memberships through religious and ethnic networks is a proven strategy, but it is not rocket science. Saying a few greetings in foreign languages — as Brown did from the victory podium Saturday — is nice, but not persuasive.

Outreach is a necessary but not sufficient condition to winning a general election campaign. The Liberal party is hardly new to the game of harvesting votes in cultural communities and building electoral coalitions.

Brown doubtless knows better than to continue hewing rightward now that he has secured the leadership. Despite past pandering, he will reposition himself, post-convention, for a general election.

He has promised an end to the bad habits of the recent PC past: No more vilification of “union bosses.” No more snubbing of New Canadians. No more mass firings of civil servants in campaign platforms.

What will he offer in place of discredited ideological nostrums? Impossible to say, given that Brown pointedly avoided saying anything substantive in the campaign.

His victory speech indulged in the usual shout-outs and platitudes. It’s not that he has a hidden agenda, just no discernible agenda.

Candidates who are low on content try to emphasize character. Yet Brown’s life story is so one-dimensional — an obsessive organizer from start to finish line — that it’s a hard story to tell.

Brown is not just an unknown, he seems utterly unknowable. But he will have to show voters something, because they won’t vote for an empty suit.

His chief liability is that he will be easier for critics to caricature — an unmarried, anti-gay-marriage, pro-life politician presiding over the party’s possible death spiral. Yet Brown may yet surprise the province.

Despite his record of cultivating social conservatives, he keeps stressing pragmatism as the path to power. He defied expectations by winning the party leadership, and is backed by many of the same professional organizers who helped make Rob Ford (open Rob Ford's policard) mayor against all odds.

After revelation, resurrection?

The PCs have made their choice. Soon, the rest of the province gets its say.

As Brown basks in the glow of his triumph with a PC party he helped grow, he will have to repeat the feat with a tougher crowd — the electorate.

The new Tory leader may be unformed, but he is no fool. He knows that winning the leadership and the premiership are two different things. ... -cohn.html

Author:  Lemmy [ Tue May 12, 2015 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"

How do you ensure the Liberals win a 3rd election that they should have lost? This.

Author:  OnTheIce [ Tue May 12, 2015 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"

The NDP is looking mighty good right now.

Author:  Tricks [ Tue May 12, 2015 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"

*sigh* Christine Elliot would have been great. But no.

Author:  Jabberwalker [ Tue May 12, 2015 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"

I'm disgusted. They chose another dweeb, pretty much like the last one. The Ontario PCs are losing touch with the people and we have another decade of mooshy-moosh incompetents to look forward to. I can tell you now, that the very right wing of the party is not electable in Ontario and neither is that schmuck.

Author:  Tricks [ Tue May 12, 2015 5:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ontario PCs elect new leader: "Patrick Who?"

So glad that the majority of either side of the political spectrum are dumb as rocks.

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