Tory Odd Couple Challenge Wynne.

A pair of losers could be Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s nemesis. Meet ‘The Kid’ and the ‘Big Guy.’ They just got back from the Soo were they took a solid Liberal seat in a bye-election by 40 per cent of the votes. These cowpokes are riding high in the saddle.

But they are an unlikely couple. The Kid looks like a nerd, sounds like a nerd and is a nerd. He is leader of the Ontario Conservatives. He is Patrick Brown from Barrie, Ontario. He is a backroom political manipulator who got carried away with his own ego. He stole his party’s leadership with the age-old trick of signing up ethnics en masse. Nobody called him for cheating. Who knows how many paid their own membership? (And why do you think the federal party changed the rules for its leadership contest and required individual credit card number or personal cheque with each membership?)

The Big Guy is more interesting. He is the late Rob Ford’s older brother. He is what is referred to in show business as a Second Banana. He is the side kick who does not get the girl. He is brunt of the jokes. He always comes second, never first. Doug Ford’s management of the family business must have cost so much that the family want him to run in politics instead. It was his younger brother sweeping into the Toronto mayoralty in 2010 that allowed him to win the council seat Rob vacated. He lost to fellow Conservative John Tory when he tried to replace his brother in the mayoralty race in 2014.

What is amusing about the relationship of Patrick Brown and Doug Ford is that each needs the other. Brown needs the key to Ford Nation—the collection of malcontents across Toronto who bought into the populist promise of Rob Ford to “end the gravy train at Toronto city hall.” To defeat the Wynne Liberals, Brown has to win seats in Toronto. Brown does not understand Toronto and does not appeal to Toronto voters.

Ford, in turn, has to know by now that he cannot count on Ford Nation alone to carry him. He needs the party support that Brown can give him. These guys need each other. They deserve each other.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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