It wasn’t so long ago Patrick Brown rose from an unknown back-bencher on Parliament Hill to become leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party.
How did he do it? The answer is quite simple: Social conservatives. They rallied behind Brown when he promised to stand with parents as first educators, even as Premier Kathleen Wynne forced her radical sexual re-education curriculum on the province’s children.
So what happened? Well, Patrick didn’t dance with the ones who brought him.
In fact, he stabbed them in the back, flip-flopping on the sex-ed issue.
But now, it’s payback: Ontario’s so-cons are coming to collect what they’re owed. I'll tell you a David and Goliath story, about a local nomination race in the Niagara region that actually offers a glimpse into the party’s future…
Once Patrick Brown threw his social conservative base under the bus (not to mention his surprise endorsement of a carbon tax), Brown’s saving grace, according to the party faithful I've spoken to, is that "he’s got one heck of a ground game." And yet, in the case of that Niagara race — the first REAL test since Brown’s sex ed flip flop — the Party’s pick couldn’t organize well enough to beat a nineteen year old with little more than a pledge to stand up for parents.
And so, with an eye to Ontario’s general election in 2018, I hope Brown’s office has learned a lesson in Niagara: A political establishment that ignores its base will start a firefight inside the tent. Power without principle won’t bring a party together, it’ll only tear it apart.
My guest tonight is Conservative Party of Canada leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier. I challenge his stances on issues that matter to social conservatives.