As outsiders, Barrie residents might not know as much about politics in Brampton but we sure know the mayor. In a straight trade for Brampton’s former mayor for Patrick Brown, we know we would have got the best of the deal. The one thing for sure is that in a head-to-head race against the incumbent mayor in his home town, Patrick knew he would be lucky to get 25 per cent of the vote.
And it is not as though the Brampton mayoralty is what Patrick wanted. He was at loose-ends, after resigning (under duress) from the leadership of Ontario’s provincial conservatives. He had noted that the now to-be-elected chair of Peel position was up for grabs and that job looked like it would pay as much as $200,000 per year. It was akin to being super-mayor of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. Patrick went for the brass ring.
That was until the new conservative leader Doug Ford heard about his plans and cancelled the election for chair in Peel. Patrick took a quick look at the mayoralty situation in Brampton—since that was where his base vote to win the Peel chair was located anyway. Patrick’s strength is hardly in his looks, sartorial elegance or pleasing personality. He is a student of politics and some people think of him as a fair-to-middling retail politician. (A retail politician is one that can sell the folks back home but never has reason to raise hand or head in parliament.)
Patrick’s punch in Brampton is the 44 per cent of people there with roots in the Indian subcontinent. All he had to do was promise to convert most of Brampton’s parks into cricket fields. The years of the British Raj in the subcontinent had developed an inordinate love of cricket. And when only about 35 per cent of municipal voters bother to vote, Patrick’s ploy prevailed.
Not that the road has been smooth since. Patrick is just as confused by the pandemic as any other inept politician. He gets his licks by pointing out the paucity of hospitals in Brampton, trying to manipulate his city councilors and interfering with Brampton’s human relations. Barrie doesn’t miss him.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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