What goes around, comes around Mr. Brown.

The social conservatives in the Niagara Peninsula had a surprise the other day for Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown. It was not the surprise he wanted. He expected his pal party president Rick Dykstra to easily win the nomination in the provincial electoral district of Niagara West-Glanbrook. Dykstra was defeated.

The local party’s selection of a 19-year old Brock University student will add some interest to an otherwise dull bye-election set for November 17 to replace former Tory leader Tim Hudak. Sam Oosterhoff, the surprise Conservative candidate, ran on a platform of being against Brown’s newly found resolve to support the Ontario sex education curriculum. It seems the young candidate believes in parents having the final word on sex education. Mind you, it is reported that he did not agree with the pro-life stance of some of his young supporters.

It ends up with the young candidate learning what it is like to be half pregnant. Since that is impossible, he—like Brown before him—needs to make a clear choice. If he wants the social conservative vote, he has to say “I believe.” That will cost him votes among the fiscally conservative. Winning the votes of both sides of the coin might be beyond his young experience.

Even Patrick Brown in his years in Ottawa never found that balance. On the only two free votes that pitted social conservatives against fiscal conservatives in Ottawa, Patrick Brown came down fully on the side of the anti-abortion, anti- rights social conservatives. These were not issues he ever brought to his electoral district in Barrie.

Brown’s advice to his young candidate should be that politics is nothing like the political science he is studying at Brock. Real politics is adversarial. It is hardly theoretical, nor is it philosophically based. It is cronyism and an old-boys’ network. It is a world of privilege and entitlement for the select few. And like in federal foreign affairs, it is all about business. The real decisions for Queen’s Park are made by lawyers and bankers working on Bay Street.

It was Bay Street that said sell off some of Hydro One. It was Bay Street that said let Loblaw sell some beer and wine. It was Bay Street that said let Woodbine Entertainment have a full casino and entertainment centre. The politicians at Queen’s Park are just a side show.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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