I don't know about you, but I think Patrick Brown's inability to get quoted by the media is becoming a major problem.
Her immigration minister acts as an unofficial mouthpiece for the Chinese government after one of their officials humiliates a Canadian journalist... and Patrick Brown gets ignored.
In Alberta, my old intern comrade Derek Fildebrandt does the job P-Bizzle should be doing in opposing Kathleen Wynne, and is summarily kicked out of caucus only to be returned the following week... and Patrick Brown gets ignored.
Patrick Brown gets ignored because everybody knows that his first and only instinct is to do and say whatever Bay Street tells him to say and do.
And even though the journalists covering provincial politics are decidedly in the tank for the Liberals, they are not quite so stupid as to waste time quoting Patrick Brown when they could go straight to the source if they were so inclined.
Past leaders of the PCPO needed to be coached to "stay on message." Having to be the spokesperson for whatever ridiculous idea the bosses are currently passing back and forth can be difficult. If you ask the PCPO braintrust, every single time the party has screwed up, they'd swear it was because some OTHER group of people who clearly didn't know what they were doing got a hold of the controls.
But for Patrick Brown, getting whatever they think to come out of his mouth and making it look natural is a skill he has been cultivating since he was old enough to wear his first badly-fitting suit.
He's absolutely terrific at pushing a carbon tax and making it look like it was not just his idea, but something conservatives across Ontario actually wanted.
It's no coincidence that he came up through Ontario's conservative youth wings, which exist for no other reason than to give the party elites a chance to groom the dead-eyed talking point machines for an actual future in politics, and to screen out those who can formulate an independent thought.
And Brown knows that while it's important to pay lip service to increased freedom or limiting the size of government or making space for faith, the fact is that those positions are difficult to defend in the boardroom or over cocktails.
So Patrick's ability to hold two or three contradictory thoughts in his head without getting them muddled, or saying anything too embarrassing (or noteworthy) comes in handy.
"But Josh!" I can hear you say. "What's wrong with having a robot for Opposition Leader? Won't that prevent unforced ramblings about abortion?"
Well, a robot is only as good as the people programming him.
And it helps if the Opposition Leader is able to offer an opinion that resonates with people when asked about the Fildebrandt situation, or the hash of a carbon plan, or on Minister Chan's fifth columnizing, instead of defaulting to talking points.
He doesn't have to go "up to 11" with outrage, but he could show a bit of a human side.
The people of Ontario want to be governed by an actual person, not an android from Planet Corpocuck with a sparkly chrome mohawk.