What an inspiring week for opponents of one-party rule in Canada! First, last Tuesday, the Alberta PC Party was decimated by the wrath of its own electorate scorned. Then, on Saturday, Ontario conservative voters flipped the bird to the incompetent PC Party establishment that, by the time of the next general election, will have handed 16 years of governing power to the most depraved bunch of Liberals this country has ever seen, defeating its anointed candidate in a landslide.
Make no mistake: Barrie MP Patrick Brown earned the victory granted to him by that collective middle finger, out-hustling, out-organizing, and out-finessing Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliott. How did it slip off the rails for Elliott, whose campaign was supposed to be a coronation? Many factors came into play, including Brown’s now-legendary ethnic community outreach; Elliott’s Seinfeldian “campaign-of-nothing”; and long-simmering grassroots discontent at the tightly-controlling downtown-Toronto leadership cabal that achieved nothing but failure since 1999.
Still, in the month leading up to the membership-filing deadline of February 28, all of the intensity in the campaign belonged neither to Elliott nor Brown, but to the third candidate in the race at the time, upstart MPP Monte McNaughton, who grabbed the headlines first by receiving the endorsement of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (who declared him “the only real conservative in the race”); and then by becoming the leading champion of principled opposition to Premier Wynne’s radical Sex Ed curriculum changes.
McNaughton activated the small-c conservative base in a race where Elliott and Brown were running well-oiled, well-funded, but mostly uninspiring campaigns. In a February debate, for example, both Elliott and Brown joined together in expressing concern over “global warming” and committing to “social justice”. Pretty much tells you where things were headed at the time.
McNaughton could not match the organizations of his competitors, and therefore could not sign up enough new members of his own to make victory possible. On April 9, with most pollsters and pundits predicting an easy Elliott win, McNaughton emerged from a meeting with Brown to make his announcement: he would be withdrawing from the race, and strongly endorsing Patrick Brown.
The ensuing month prior to election day saw escalating anti-Wynne protests, with McNaughton using his credibility on the sex ed issue to direct all PC voters concerned about the issue to the Brown camp. With Elliott choosing the foolish strategy of running against the protestors as a wedge, it was easy pickings, and Brown became the beneficiary of a huge gift – complete ownership of the #1 hot-button issue of the day, lifting him from a close contention to landslide victory.
The new leader knows where his bread has been buttered, and he knows, like his boss for the past decade, Stephen Harper, that elections cannot be won by conservatives in this country without the active support of the small-c conservative base. I, for one, joined the party only to support Monte, and would have simply not shown up to vote had Monte not convinced me that I could put my trust in Patrick.
Patrick: the media and the party establishment has already begun pushing, prodding, begging and bullying you to shun Monte McNaughton and disavow any interest in the social issues that are near-and-dear to the radical leftist agenda. You can bow to their sly charms, or you can do what is right and just.
Your continued embrace of the man who contributed so much to your victory, is what is right and just. You owe us nothing less than The Full Monte.
Your honeymoon period will carry you far, and we’re all impressed so far with your fresh and impressive style. But turn wrong on Monte, and that collective middle finger could indeed return in a flash. As we saw last week, there’s no wrath worse than you own voters scorned.
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