Thursday, February 22, 2018

Am I still standing with Patrick Brown? Read and find out...

I just got off the phone with my brother, a long time member of Ontario's PC party.  He wanted to know if, in light of recent revelations, I still supported Patrick Brown's bid to reclaim the leadership of the party.  

I wrote a blog post on February 16th that's been viewed over 1,000 times, which for this pathetic little blog is about as close as it comes to going viral.

But a lot has happened since then.  Hop into my time machine and let's go back a few weeks, to Jan 24th 2018...the day that Ontario politics was turned on its ear.  If you have a short attention span stop reading right now, this is going to be a long one.

I'm a political junkie and the news on that day was riveting.  Up to that point I had pretty much decided that I would be voting PC in the upcoming election.  I hadn't yet put my antenna all the way up to maximum height, and there was always the possibility that something could happen to change my mind though.  

Does that sound familiar Ontario Conservative poll watchers?

Prior to CTV's reporting of Patrick Brown luridly plying a high school girl with drinks and then having a friend drive her to his house wherein he lured her up to his second floor bedroom, closed the door and demanded oral sex...and another story involving a tale of kissing and climbing on top of a very drunk constituency worker in that same bedroom on a different occasion....

Prior to this news I didn't know that much about the man.

I had been living in Quebec from 2011 until April of 2015, moving back just before Mr. Brown won the leadership in 2015.  I'm Ontario born, spent some time growing up in the United Stares, but from 1978 until 2011 my address always had the province Ontario in it, Toronto, Durham Region, North Bay, Northumberland...I get around.  

And now that I'm back its very unlikely I will ever leave.  

All I really knew about Patrick Brown before CTV's bombshell report was that he had outmanoeuvred Christine Elliott by courting social conservatives in the 2015 leadership race.  Honestly I didn't like that, I myself am not a social conservative.  I consider myself to be socially progressive and fiscally conservative.  But then I heard that Patrick Brown marched in Toronto's Gay Pride Parade, that he endorsed the Wynne Liberal's update to the sex ed curriculum.  

Okay, I get it.  He courted the religious right and outflanked Ms. Elliott.....that's politics.  

At least now he was a viable Premier in my eyes, and with the way Kathleen Wynne's Liberals had handled everything from Orange and E-Health, the Hydro file and the AG's proclamation about the bogus balanced budget, I was pretty much a lock to vote PC in the coming provincial election in June.  

Jumping forward a bit I started looking into the allegations....I quickly learned the identity of the constituency worker and of her relationship to CTV reporter Rachel Aiello who worked on the story.  I never studied journalism, but I don't think you need a BA in media studies to know that this doesn't pass the smell test.  I also read some of the accuser's bio, her thoughts about using feminism as a political tool, or weapon, I forget the exact verbiage.  More smell.

Now I'm hooked and falling deeper and deeper into the vortex of social media gossip and on-line digging.  I discover that the first accuser, the one who said she was in high school when Patrick Brown met her in a bar, word is out that she too is connected to a CTV reporter, a former housemate.  The stench is getting worse and worse.

Social media maven and indy "journalist" Deb Davidson put up a Youtube video claiming that reporters in Barrie were willing to pay anyone willing to come forward with credible allegations against Brown.  Hmmmm, I don't know who this Deb Davidson is or whether her video is credible, but its out there and is part of the narrative.  A very murky and dark narrative.

Political hit job?  

Seems to me that there is more than reasonable grounds for that suspicion.  Especially with word that Caroline Mulroney is looking to replace Brown.  Her brother is a CTV media star after all.

More fast forwarding, Brown has been forced out....made to resign, in so much haste it seems the party released the news of his removal before he'd even read or signed a letter of resignation.  Oh well, sucks to be Patrick Brown I guess.  What's the bigger picture now?  The PCs don't have a leader and there's an election in June.  Will they appoint one?  Will there be a leadership race?  

That's quickly settled and the candidates start declaring. 

  • Christine Elliott is back for another kick at the can. 
  • The aforementioned Caroline Mulroney makes it official.  
  • Dougie is mobilizing #FordNation for his run at the job.
And finally some individual whose name I still can't commit to memory who I simply call the anal sex lady.  And thanks to my posts referring to this individual as such on Twitter, #analsexlady is now a hashtag that's getting a little play.

I still want the PCs to win at this point, but who do I want them putting up as the leader?  

Brother man starts calling and tells me I can join the party and have a say, it only costs $10.  Brian at church says the same thing, even invites me to a meet and greet for the local PC candidate in my riding.  At that gathering I fill out the form and jot down my credit card number, I'm in.  I haven't yet been mailed a card or anything from the party, but I just checked my credit card account and the $10 has been charged, on February 13th.  

I'm with Elliott all the way at this point.  Ford?  I know the man has a strong base of Trump minded followers, but that's not for me.  Caroline Mulroney?  No way, no experience at all and I don't like the fact that it was her brother's employer whose news division engaged in what looks to me like some serious yellow journalism to oust Brown, I'll pass.

Fast forward again, to the next bombshell....Ontario politics is becoming a spectacular fireworks display.  Patrick Brown in back???  WTF!!!  

I'm already sold on the whole thing being a a politically motivated hit job.  The first accuser's story was shot so full of holes that other media organizations are putting out headlines like this: 

Un-freaking real, holy jumping cheese curds.  

CTV didn't bother to check its facts obviously.  The accuser who said she was in high school now says she got her dates wrong.  Okay...that can happen.  It seems she also got the part about Patrick Brown's friend driving her to his house wrong, that individual asserted categorically to other media outlets that it never happened.  

But the rest, that stands CTV claims, and they're sticking to their original story, well....not the parts they got wrong, just the part about demanding oral sex.  Uhm...yeah, okay.

And the second accuser, its now being reported that others present at Mr. Brown's house after the Hockey Night in Barrie event, they assert that the former constituency worker was following Patrick around all night, googly eyed like a puppy dog and that she followed him after he'd gone upstairs to his bedroom.  

What happened once the door was closed?  The only thing we know for sure is that they exchanged a kiss and then she was driven home.  The implication that she was given a raise to silence her has also been called into question with conflicting stories now saying this individual demanded a raise when new constituency workers were hired and were being paid the same as Ms. X. 

On top of that the Barrie politician subjected himself to two polygraph tests and passed both. According to an exclusive news story the expert who conducted the first test, an individual with some 40 odd years experience and recently employed by CBC's the 5th Estate, Patrick Brown not only met the standards for determining truthfulness, he exceeded them on all measurements.

Armed with this information he launched his bid to reclaim the leadership, claiming that he'd cleared his name.  Has his name been cleared?  For me it has.  I do not know what more the man could possibly do, even if he had years and years to do it.  

Now we're back to the present day.  

Not only has Patrick Brown launched his bid to reclaim the leadership, but he has been cleared to do so by the PC committee charged with green lighting candidates.  He will be running as a PC candidate in a newly constituted Barrie riding, and he will be vying to lead the party in its fight to unseat Wynne's Liberal government.

But the story doesn't end there, this story has no end.  There are more allegations coming out, it seems like almost every hour.

The Globe & Mail reported that Patrick Brown discussed a $375,000 deal with a future PC candidate in 2016, one Jass Johal who later went on to be acclaimed in a suburban Toronto riding.  In fact they had a signed affidavit detailing the proposed transaction.  Patrick Brown then provided the G&M a subsequent affidavit that states the contemplated transaction never took place, it was also shared on social media.

Patrick Brown has said that his former staff stole some of his personal files from his office, including financial documents.  The Globe story detailed how the exact $375K was later deposited into Mr. Brown's account, and the implication is obvious, that it was a shady deal.  Not so says Patrick Brown, the $375K was the amount needed, along with mortgage financing, to purchase a home up on lake Simcoe.  

Verdict?  For me this is small beer, very small beer.  Patrick Brown and Mr Johal are Conservatives, not Marxists.  

So they considered entering a financial arrangement, Patrick needed $375K for the down payment on the purchase of a property, and he and Mr. Johal laid out the framework of a proposed transaction involving the exchange of money for aeroplan miles and an ownership stake in a Barrie sports bar.  Then, for whatever reason, either one or both of them decided not to proceed. 

Maybe they figured the optics were bad and decided against going forward.  Maybe Mr. Brown or Mr. Johal figured they weren't getting fair value, that $375K was either too much or too little.  I really don't care.  Maybe Caroline Mulroney is upset that Patrick paid less for his Simcoe Lake property than she paid for hers?  Where did Patrick get the $375K?  The globe reports Patrick as saying it came from family.  

Okay let's move on.  Inflated party membership numbers.  At least everyone agrees that after losing the 2011 election the number of PC party members was down around 12,000.  Recently Mr. Brown boasted about how the party membership was at 200,000.  That's quite the achievement, rah rah zis boom bah.  

But then some angry old guys in the party, including those he'd beaten out for the leadership last time, they started saying that Mr. Brown was inflating the numbers, that it was more like 130,000 or 165,000....whatever it was the number wasn't 200,000 as Brown claimed.  

Will these guys please just shut the #### up.....Party official Thomas Degroot sent out an email that's been shared all over social media confirming that Brown got the number wrong, but he went low instead of high like a good conservative, it wasn't 200,000 but over 234,000......

Then there's Brown's girlfriend, who is I believe 23 years of age.  Apparently she really likes Patrick Brown and speaks highly of his character and demeanour.  Do I care that Brown is 39 and thus much older?  No, I don' more than I cared about former Prime Minister PE Trudeau having been involved with an 18 year old when he was in his 40s and then later marrying.  Did that make PET unfit for office?  Trash Pierre's politics all you like, that's certainly fair game....but who cares who he took to bed so long as we're talking about consenting adults.

But with all this baggage, can Patrick Brown win a June election against Wynne's Liberals?  

In my opinion....yes, easily.  I think the battle to win the leadership is going to be harder actually, harder but doable.  Ontarians are itching to toss the Liberals into the opposition benches, and I think Patrick Brown is the one person most capable of doing it.

Assuming he's the leader in June, are there some voters who will shun the PCs because of all the stories that have been floated in the media?  No doubt, some yes.  

But for every one voter who is turned off I would wager there's at least one other who will mark an X next to a PC candidate.  People who wouldn't have otherwise voted PC because of the way Patrick Brown has fought back against unbelievable odds.

I was very pleased, and frankly very surprised, that Patrick Brown was allowed to stand for the leadership race, it was the right choice.  PC Party members are big girls and big boys, we can make up our own minds.  

And Patrick Brown has to be considered a very real possibility to win again.  Betting against this guy is obviously not a smart thing to do.  As far as I'm aware he's never lost a political fight, from city councillor to MP to MPP and the Ontario PC Party leadership.  And he's demonstrated a remarkable ability to remove knives from his back.

But maybe PC party members will want to risk going into an election without a platform, to be lead by a rookie leader instead of the guy who grew the membership from just 12,000 to its current levels. Maybe they don't want a man who has reached out to communities that make the PC party more reflective of Ontario than it has ever been before.  

Carbon tax?  Get over it.  Its coming whether we like it or not.  If Ontario doesn't put a price on carbon, then Trudeau's Liberals are going to do it to us.....oh but they'll return the money, don't worry....Justin wouldn't go back on his word, just like he's kept his promise on electoral reform, ooops.  

I'd rather see a Carbon Tax offset by deep and broad based cuts to my income tax rate thank you very much.  Besides, I don't like pollution, I kind of like clean lakes, streams, soil and air....I'm weird that way, maybe some prefer smog, scummy lakes and toxic soil.   

So am I still standing with Patrick Brown?  If you've read this far you already know the answer.  Yes.  

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