The irony of the Ontario Tory leadership race is that deposed -- now back in the game leader -- Patrick Brown is the only Red Tory in the race. And his opposition is desperately trying to get rid of him. Tom Walkom writes:
He’s also the only candidate vying for the leadership who is running as a Red Tory. That’s important because the Red Tory blend of sound economic management and moderately progressive social policy is usually the formula for political success in Ontario — for any party.
Now that Brown has decided to fight for his old job, his critics are getting harsher. Interim leader Vic Fideli has kicked him out of the Tory caucus. Tory MPP Randy Hillier has filed a complaint about him with the province’s integrity commissioner.
The Globe and Mail published a complicated story asking whether Brown had entered into a financial arrangement with someone seeking a Tory nomination (the answer apparently was no).
Political operatives, irked that he hasn’t quietly gone away, accuse him of putting his own interests before those of the party — a charge that could be levelled at any politician trying to rock the boat.
When a 23-year-old girlfriend publicly supported him, Brown, 39, was criticized for dating younger women. That’s an accusation that Brian Mulroney, who was 34 when he married 19-year-old Mila Pivnicki never faced. Nor did Pierre Trudeau when he married a young woman almost 30 years his junior.
I was never impressed by Brown. But his saga says a lot about what has happened to Progressive Conservatism. These days, being a confessed Red Tory can be a self inflicted wound.
Image: The Huffington Post Canada