The Odd Couple of Canadian Politics in 2016.

There is something perversely funny about the coupling of two of Canada’s least likely politicians. This thought came to mind in wondering about the impact of this pair on Canadian politics in 2016. They are the two opposition leaders in Ontario and Quebec. They are politician Patrick Brown from Barrie, Ontario and neophyte politician, millionaire separatist Pierre-Karl Péladeau of Quebecor wealth.

Both delude themselves—which does little harm.

But both have the resources to delude the public—which can do irreparable harm.

And their targets are Premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario and Premier Philippe Couillard of Quebec—both with majorities and at least three more years in their mandates. That gives Brown and Péladeau a wide window within which to scheme. And do not underestimate the ability of these men to scheme.

Brown is a person who lives, breathes and devotes himself to political manipulation. Péladeau simply buys his political advice. Both are from the extreme right of Canadian politics. Brown is from the religious right wing while Péladeau is from the monied and pampered right. He was having fun in Paris in the years before his father’s sudden death and he seemed to resent the need for him to come home and replace him at the head of the family business.

Brown had finally figured out that his lacklustre performance in Ottawa was not getting him anywhere. He had proved that he was more interested in playing hockey and running marathons than federal politics.

Brown’s hope is that Ontario politics is easier. He bought the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives with other people’s money. It was a simple matter of hiring organizers from the sub-continent who found enough South Asian immigrants to swamp the existing membership of the old Ontario PC Party. And nobody asked him who paid for all those memberships.

Péladeau had an easier time of it. The Parti Québécois was moribund after the smashing defeat of its government under Pauline Marois in 2014. In a nothing campaign, he spend about $400,000 of petty cash to win the leadership.

The only confusion Péladeau has is that his old union-busting techniques from business might not win for the PQ with the party’s reliance on support among Quebec unions. That is almost as confusing as a religious conservative heading up the Red Tory party of former Ontario Premier Bill Davis.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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