Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday January 27, 2018
Brown’s loss may be a blessing in disguise for PCs
Suddenly, an Ontario election that looked wildly unpredictable appears utterly confounding.
The only certainty is that Patrick Brown’s dramatic decapitation as the Progressive Conservative candidate for premier is destined for the history books. No one, however, can foretell the province’s political future.
Never mind the partisans and pollsters who confidently predicted a PC rout of a forlorn Liberal government. No one truly knew how Premier Kathleen Wynne would fare against the untested Brown or the NDP’s Andrea Horwath on the campaign trail, nor how voters would respond.
We know even less today. Tempting as it is to write off the Tories as leaderless, they are hardly rudderless — and may even enjoy a renaissance.
At their moment of maximum disarray, a dislikable leader has been dispatched. If they can improve on their last disastrous choice — pollsters were already noting Brown’s creeping negative ratings, and the more than 44 per cent of Ontarians who had no opinion of him — the Tories may yet surprise people.
Put another way, the best thing Wynne and Horwath had going for them was Brown. Unlikeable, unknowable, unimpressive as a politician and most especially as an aspiring premier.
But not to be underestimated. Brown surprised his rivals in the 2015 party leadership race by massively outhustling and organizing them, signing up tens of thousands of instant Tories by reaching out to ethnic communities. As leader, he picked up the pace by setting remarkable new fundraising records.
Yet organizational talent does not translate into political vision. Brown was not only bereft of charisma, he was utterly lacking in presence when he walked into a room.
The Tories can do better — and better late than never. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)