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The rise and pathetic fall of Patrick Brown

John Bell

January 28, 2018

Oh Patrick Brown, we hardly knew ye. Well, in fact we know more than enough.

Two young women have brought forward reports of unwanted sexual advances from Brown. And within hours the savior who was going to lead the Tories back to power was out as leader.

He didn't want to quit, but his inner circle staff quit. These included former Stephen Harper insiders like Alykhan Velshi, whose years of service with the Dear Leader and with Jason Kenney were not know for excursions along the high road. To be clear, all four of Brown’s key advisors resigned almost instantly, together, and issuing a joint statement as they ran for the exit. This strongly suggests they all knew there was substance to the accusations long before the press conference was called.

He still didn't want to quit, but the unanimous opinion of his caucus said "GO". Think for a moment who is in his caucus. This bunch is more likely to tweet #whitelivesmattertoo than #metoo.

Exhibit A: Ontario PCP president Rick Dykstra.  Back in 2015 Dykstra was a Harper MP from Niagara region, and a Patrick Brown colleague. And darned if Rick didn’t spend the night buying overpriced vodka for a bunch of underage girls. One particular 16-year-old liked to take selfies and tweet. She was offered lifetime VIP status at the bar in question to make the evidence go away. We’re glad she went public. Rick lost the subsequent election. Switching to provincial politics, Brown planned to parachute pal Rick into a vacant riding near Fort Erie. Local Tories had the good sense to reject Dyksta, and the bad sense to choose 18-year-old Sam Oosterhoff instead.

Tory caucus Exhibit B: MPP Lisa MacLeod said she had several times passed reports of Brown’s sexual harassment and “inappropriate touching” without results. So she, among many others we suspect, kept the information quiet.

And members of the press began to shrug, mentioning “gossip” going back months that one might get a good story by hanging around in certain Barrie bars.

So, his inner circle knew, his caucus knew and the Queen’s Park press corps knew, but all kept it quiet, part of what used to be called a “gentleman’s agreement.” The only questions are how long did they know, and how many other young women will come forward?

All bridges burned, that left Brown standing alone to announce his resignation.

Now—hopefully—all the barely concealed hatreds and splits within the Ontario Tory party will bubble to the surface. The yahoos will go off leash (paging Doug Ford!). The oily Metro-pragmatists will flop around without a leader. Remember, Brown was being sued by one failed Hamilton candidate for undemocratic practices, like ballot box stuffing and parachuting in his own handpicked sycophant. And a Cambridge dissident Tory was granted $140,000 when a judge threw out a court case brought by Brown to silence him.

This whole Tory election plan was built around Brown, his team, his face, his character and his *cough* charisma. A fortune has been spent on print and media ads focused on Brown, all on this ill-conceived cult of personality. The Tories need a squeaky clean persona to lead them, and they're in luck. I nominate Sam Oosterhoff, that now 20-year-old, home schooled, evangelical, anti-choice, homophobic MPP from Fort Erie. I don't think he's ever been on a date. But he is honestly more representative of the Tory party than Brown ever was.

As for Patrick Brown, I happened to catch a revealing glimpse of the man when I turned on the early morning local news for the weather report. The meteorologist, an acquaintance of Brown’s from Barrie, was shocked. He said (I’m paraphrasing): “He would tell you that his whole life he had had only one ambition, to be the prime minister of the country or the premier of the province.” His whole life has been devoted to gaining political position, privilege and power. To what end? To troll after teenagers for sex, as somehow the due of “powerful” men.

The only word that came to mind was: pathetic. Now every day of Patrick Brown’s life will be another day in which his only goal becomes slightly smaller in the rear-view mirror.

In the end it was fantasy writer Douglas Adams, of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame, who wrote the best epitaph for Brown’s career: “To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

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