Opinion

Congratulations on Patrick Brown's candidacy, Kathleen Wynne: Robyn Urback

After watching last week's debate, Brown decided that what the PCs needed was him: a guy accused of sexual and financial impropriety, of overseeing shady nomination practices and of inflating membership numbers to finally unite the party and defeat Premier Kathleen Wy—why are you laughing?

Brown offers almost exactly the same thing as the others, but with a different haircut and more baggage

Former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown returns to finish what he started two years ago, back when he had virtually no name recognition as opposed to his current sullied name recognition. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Patrick Brown is doing this for you, Ontario.

This is not about clearing his name — though he has said he's on a mission to clear his name.

This is not about exacting revenge on his enemies — but don't forget that a small group of insiders is trying to derail him and his campaign.

This is not even about reclaiming a role from which he says he never technically resigned in the first place — but remember that resignation letter went out without his consent.

No, this is about doing the right thing for the province. For the hardworking taxpayer. For the loyal supporters who, OK, didn't actually know who he was two months ago but now support him completely for the martyr they perceive him to be.

In an interview with Zoomer Radio Wednesday, Brown said he decided to join the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race after watching the leadership debate last week and becoming concerned that "we'd blow another election" with the lacklustre slate of candidates.

Perhaps Brown viewed the lack of just-fired-from-caucus candidates as a distinct liability. He didn't elaborate. In any case, he resolved that what the PCs needed was him: a guy accused of sexual and financialimpropriety, of overseeing shady nomination practices and of inflating membership numbers to finally unite the party and defeat Premier Kathleen Wy—why are you laughing?

Anyway, now that his candidacy has been approved by the party's vetting committee, which, according to unverified sources, is poised to likewise approve the nomination of the family of raccoons that lives in the east wing of Queen's Park, Brown can get back to work being the best thing that ever happened to the Ontario Liberal Party. I mean talking about hydro.

Brown will bring some much-needed fiscal and social conservatism to the leadership race, with the exception of his support for carbon taxes and the new sexual education curriculum, and his personal record of dating a female employee nearly two decades his junior.

That young woman recently defended her boss-turned-boyfriend against accusations that he has acted inappropriately toward young women who have worked for him, offering a case study in subtle irony and a glimpse of the expert spin-doctoring we might expect from the Brown campaign should it woo enough of the PC membership to again win the leadership. Imagine how nervous they must be over at Liberal headquarters.

Patrick Brown, the former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, has registered to run in its leadership race — a move that has been slammed by fellow candidates. Brown's bid comes just three weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct led to his resignation 2:05

Still, some have suggested that after all that has happened, Brown should put his personal ambitions aside for the sake of the party. That even if he is innocent of everything of which he has been accused (a list that seems to grow by the day, and now includes an alleged failure to report lavish gifts from lobbyists and other third parties) he should nevertheless remove himself if only to spare the leadership race — and by extension, Ontario — his baggage.

But doing so would rob Patrick Brown of the best stage possible to talk about Patrick Brown, who has denied all the allegations and is actually very nice, according to his sisters and ex-girlfriend. It would also, incidentally, rob Kathleen Wynne's team of an extra few weeks of relaxation time while the PC Party obsesses over Brown's alleged personal and professional indiscretions — even if early polls show Brown faring rather well against Wynne. (Polls showed Tim Hudak in majority territory ahead of both elections for which he was leader.)

No, Patrick Brown has to be in the race to offer almost exactly what the other candidates are offering, but with a different haircut and more baggage. He must return to finish what he started two years ago, back when he had virtually no name recognition as opposed to his current sullied name recognition.

There are members of the PC Party who will surely be none too pleased to see Brown campaigning under the banner from which he was just removed, but this is not about them — it's about Patrick Brown. No wait — you. You. It's about you. And anyway, I know there is at least one Queen's Park regular who is ecstatic to see Patrick Brown return. Enjoy an extra week off, Kathleen. 

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

About the Author

Robyn Urback

Columnist

Robyn Urback is an opinion columnist with CBC News and a producer with the CBC's Opinion section. She previously worked as a columnist and editorial board member at the National Post. Follow her on Twitter at:

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