Hate him or love him, Patrick Brown could be the next Ontario premier
Patrick Brown is back on the hustings vying for the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives and he has a chance to be the province’s next premier.
Brown was the former leader of the Ontario PC party before he resigned due to sexual allegations that were made against him by two unidentified women. He denies the allegations.
“It’s unprecedented for a party to be going through this, this close to an election,” Christopher Cochrane, a Political Science professor at the University of Toronto said.
Cochrane said if the committee had decided not to green light Brown’s bid for PC leadership then they would have had to spend the following weeks in court litigating.
“Then there was also the potential of him running from outside of the party and contesting the legitimacy of the party,” he said.
“So it certainly would have been about Patrick Brown the whole way through, even if they tried to get him out of the leadership race,” Cochrane said. “Now he’ll be front and centre at all the debates, he’ll frankly be the face of the political party whenever you see them in the news.”
Now the question remains whether Brown can win the Ontario PC leadership election and then go on to become the next premier.
“I think it is likely that he’ll lose, although I don’t have any data to show this. But I think it is highly likely he’ll lose,” he said. “If he does in fact lose the leadership race the party can say you lost fair and square.
“If Patrick Brown persists [after losing] and continues to litigate against the party as he’s been doing, then at that point I think it would be clear that Patrick Brown had no interest at all in the party or the election, he was only interested in himself,” Cochrane said.
Cochrane also contemplated the outcome of a scenario in which Brown wins.
“If on the other hand he wins, we’d completely be in unprecedented territory, because then he’d have to remove a sizable chunk of the current party, who have not only not supported him but have actively opposed him over the past weeks,” he said.
Nelson Wiseman, a Political Science professor at the University of Toronto, noted concerns about Brown’s financial arrangements were released by a newspaper.
It’s been reported that MPP Randy Hillier filed a complaint against Brown with Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner and calls for an investigation into Brown’s personal finances.
Brown has a home on the Lake Simcoe waterfront in Barrie which is said to be worth $2.3 million. Hillier questions how Brown has been able to afford a very expensive mortgage with his salary.
Wiseman said it is hard to tell if the sexual and financial misconduct allegations will hinder Brown’s chance of winning the leadership race.
He said yes, Brown won last time, but it’s unclear if the people that voted for him before will vote for him again.
However, Wiseman doesn’t think Brown was done wrong by his party.
“I don’t think the party was unfair to him, I think he’s been unfair to the party cause he’s making it all about himself,” he said. “I think the whole affair hurts the party.
“The caucus wanted him to resign so that they can have whoever they want as their parliamentary leader,” Wiseman said.
Although, Brown still has supporters whom believe in him and want to see him succeed.
Iris Yu, a Conservative candidate for the Spadina-Fort York riding, and Daryl Kramp, who was the Conservative MP for Prince Edward-Hastings, have both tweeted their support for Brown.