The Tories’ Brown can’t get traction.

You would think that Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown would be sitting pretty these days. We have Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne clinging to power and the New Democrat’s Andrea Horwath disappearing from the radar. It spells nothing but opportunity for an eager leader nobody knows.

But one of our readers said it best last time we talked about Brown. The reader wrote: “My nightmare is that the next Ontario election will be about punishing the Liberals, resulting in a backlash majority Conservative government.” And that seems to be the consensus across Ontario among progressive voters.

With more than two years in as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives now, Brown is still largely unknown. Luckily, the thinking voter is growing increasingly sceptical of Brown’s delays in answering some of the simplest questions. His problems within his party have caused him to be cautious and slow to appoint loyalists. Meanwhile his party has succumbed to chicanery and complaints about cheating in the selection of candidates. He has few name candidates to-date and this is not inspiring confidence out in the electoral districts. His Tories are splintering.

Meanwhile, this has hardly solved Premier Wynne’s problems. She recently gathered together her caucus at Queen’s Park and invited the news media to watch while she gave the caucus a pep talk. It was one of those “Once more for the Gipper” speeches and the news media just yawned.

But Wynne did make a few important points. She talked about change and how the voters are hungry for change. She believes that the voters are starting to see her government as the instrument of change. And, in a way, she is right. While progressives might ridicule her speed of change, the voters are starting to recognize it as change. She can talk about a $15 minimum wage, a start towards Pharmacare, more free university, easing of distribution of alcoholic beverages and despite the molasses-like progress, she has been an agent of change.

Brown has no change to offer except back to the days of former Premier Mike Harris. The only change he understands is to the conservative right and back to the past. He can only offer a bleak future to Ontario.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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