UPDATE: The Ontario PC Party executive has decided to conduct a leadership race before the general election. The party will announce the new leader on March 9.
In the wake of Patrick Brown's resignation, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli has been named as the interim leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.
He's announced that he's prepared to "step forward for any leadership position caucus or the Party asks."
The Ontario PC Party executive will now determine the extent of Fedeli's role. There are two choices that will dictate Fedeli's future: Conducting a leadership race before the general election, or after.
But no matter what happens, the Ontario PC Party must not run on the "Liberal-lite" platform of Patrick Brown.
In order to have any success in the next election, the PC Party must provide some sort of fiscally responsible policy, even if it's just joining federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in opposing the Liberal carbon tax scheme.
Something as minor as opposition to a carbon tax could be enough to motivate the base and prevent the loss of any further ground to the Trillium Party, who have been steadily converting PC Party members.
Brown's "People's Guarantee" platform was gimmicky, and lacked conservative policies. Many "true blue" conservatives were growing disillusioned with Brown and the PC Party well before those sexual misconduct allegations were made public this week.
It was Brown's lack of support from the party base that stuck a nail in his political coffin. Conservative politicians like Donald Trump and Rob Ford were able to survive similar damaging allegations because their voters believed in their policy plan. Torontonians wanted to see an end to the "gravy train" at city hall, and blue-collar Americans wanted to see their jobs return from overseas. Those policies were enough to help Trump and Ford through their difficulties.
In contrast, Brown was counting on Ontarians being so fed up with the corrupt and dishonest Liberals that voters would just sweep him into office, regardless of his policies.
Now the Ontario PC Party is tainted. The only way to stop the bleeding is to motivate the base.
Whoever is leading the party come June must abandon Patrick Brown's weak platform and embrace a true conservative agenda.