Professionalism in Politics.

Interesting argument the other day with a reader who likes keeping up with the political scene and who supports the liberals. He was stating his objection to professional politicians. Since his major experience with a professional politician was when Patrick Brown was the MP in Barrie and then the leader of the Ontario conservatives, I can understand his objection. Brown just might be one of the worst examples of a professional politician.

But that is why politicos refer to Brown as a retail politician. He knows how politics work and he works the system. Last year in the chaos created by the new Ford government in Queen’s Park, Brown was ricocheting around Peel Region trying to find a place on the dance card for the civic election. He knew he could run somewhere in Peel Region. Ford cut him off from the regional chair position—easy job, good pay. He landed in Brampton instead, where the incumbent mayor was vulnerable.

He had moved to Mississauga because he knew he could not defeat the incumbent mayor in Barrie. It was not his shallow personal connections in Peel but the ethnic mix that attracted him. Multi-culturalism minister for Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, had set Brown up with free trips to India in those years when he was an MP in the Harper government. Brown had not only become buddies with Indian President Narendra Modi but had become a key contact with the many people in the very large sub-continent community in Canada.

Brown had already used these ethnic contacts in the Peel region to swamp the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party membership and delivered him the leadership of that party. (Brampton resident Jagmeet Singh noted that there were thousands of Sikh immigrants involved and obviously used many of the same group to swamp the NDP party membership in the same way as Brown swamped the Tories.)

In as much as the sub-continent community represents 30 per cent of the population of Brampton, Brown won the mayoralty by the simple promise to the Sikh and Hindu immigrant population in Brampton that there would be more cricket pitches in the city parks. The sub-continent people do love their cricket.

And that is what professional politicians do. They know how to win elections. They become expert. The professionals are the ones who stick around. The amateurs come and go.

But they can be good people who care about the voters. They can also be users. That is up to the voters to decide.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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