In Ontario there is the Brown Way.

Last weekend Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown was in Barrie to stoke the local loyalties. He reminds us of the busker with the sticks and plates. This is the entertainer who can keep more and more plates spinning on sticks. And if he makes it look too easy, he just adds more sticks and plates.

The only difference is that Brown is the kind of guy who breaks the plates and does not care. His rich friends will get him more.

But Brown is also alienating people and that is not something that mere money can fix.

Take the recent race for his party’s presidency for example. He had to buy off the competition. Brown needs his old friend former MP Rick Dykstra in the party presidency to protect his back. How he bought off Jag Badwal, who also was also vying for the job, we will find out eventually.

The other obvious problem is the Ontario caucus. Brown has few friends in the group. These are people well versed in the situation at Queen’s Park and many resent the way Brown stole the leadership. Swamping the legitimate membership with immigrants from India and Pakistan was hardly doing the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario a favour. These instant members were brought out to vote and then they went home, never to be seen again.

But there are just too many other problems for Brown to handle. In most, he is ill-equipped to handle them. How he will get his caucus members to like him is a challenge of major proportions. He is hardly a likeable person.

His main problem is the news media. He cannot patronize the Queen’s Press Gallery the way he patronized what passes for news media in Barrie. The Ottawa Gallery had mostly ignored him when he was an MP but that is not possible for the Ontario Gallery. They tend to have their claws out for him.

But they like him in Barrie. The hard core Conservatives in Barrie fawn on him. His choice as Member of Parliament to replace him, Alex Nuttall, might be the biggest lapdog you have ever met. When Brown says jump, Nuttall is already in the air before asking ‘How high?’

The major question the media are raising about Brown is what his policy direction might be? There is a simple answer to that question: Whatever will help get him re-elected.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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