By the time you read this, Patrick Brown should have passed the basic test of winning a byelection in a safe seat and entering Queen’s Park. I, along with Kathleen Wynne, realize that nobody cares all that much about provincial politics at the moment, but if we wait for the federal election to be over, we’ll already have a month of tomfoolery at Queen’s Park to dig through.
Back on my old blog, my main issue was provincial politics in Ontario. For five agonizing years, I watched as the Liberals ran Ontario into the ground whilst the PC Party of Ontario ran themselves into the ground. Not only did the PCPO fail at every juncture, but they consistently innovated new ways to fail.
They were the Baryshnikovs of failure. You would go into a byelection or a policy conference expecting one type of failure, not wanting to be too disappointed, and then come out the other end both more disappointed than you thought possible and angry at not just the party, but at humanity. It was like going to New York for an expensive wedding which you knew was going to set you back and ending up getting mugged in a dark alleyway besides.
A lot of people have been complaining about Patrick Brown’s supposed negatives as if the party lives and dies with him. This obscures the issues with the PCPO that have transcended leaders, wide-ranging systematic issues that everyone notices but everyone ignores in favour of complaining about something they feel can be replaced- the leader.
Here, then, are the top three issues that Mr. Brown must resolve if he wants a hope of becoming Premier.
1) STOP SCREAMING ABOUT SCANDALS. The Ontario PC’s spent the entirety of the Hudak years yelling about this or that scandal to no discernible effect. It has been conclusively proven, in four separate elections and countless byelections, that Ontarians would rather have corrupt Liberals than honest PC’s. When the Liberals spin some non story about how Mike Harris is the problem, Ontarians believe them. Stop trying to convince everyone that we’re Boy Scouts and focus on kicking Liberal tushies.
2) DEAL WITH THE WORKING FAMILIES COALITION. Not just the PCPO, but the entire Canadian right-wing cast of characters has blown this. Nobody wants me to remember the HarperPAC affair, but you know I’m going to. There, as with the PC Party of Ontario and with other parties across the land, an overwhelming attitude of superstitious fear towards third party advertising was and is the source of the problem.
In the five years I blogged at my old blog, I was admonished by the party staffers exactly once. Was it for the post where I dressed down Frank Klees? Was it for effectively calling the senior party a bunch of cowards? Nope. It was for the suggestion that the PCPO form their own Working Families Coalition.
3) CREATE A MEANINGFUL POLICY PROCESS. I want to be very clear about what I mean here- I do not mean open up the policy process to the members, because the members equate “policy proposal” with “spouting off about what’s making me mad this morning.” No, what I mean is that the party needs to do some bloody research into files so they don’t roll into Ottawa in the middle of an election and find that they don’t have a talking point for what to do about the LRT out there, which they just found out existed that morning. A corollary to this would be to stop relying on talking points to the exclusion of all else.
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