February 21, 2018 10:42 am

Roy Green: Are the Ontario Progressive Conservatives on self-destruct?

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An octopus under stress may begin to cannibalize itself. It will eat its own legs and eventually die.

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) appears to be under considerable stress and is perhaps edging toward octopus-imitation mode.

We all now know the various stories behind the numerous headlines.

READ MORE: Patrick Brown expected to learn on Wednesday if bid for Tory leadership can proceed


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The accusation: Patrick Brown engaged in sexual misconduct with two women. The defence: Patrick Brown did no such thing, the original CTV story detailing the allegations is a hit piece in which the identities of Brown’s accusers are protected.

The CTV piece was immediately considered suspect by some, but not by either the PCPO hierarchy or Brown’s own senior staff.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Patrick Brown says sexual assault allegations motivated by ‘political adversaries’

Last week, speaking exclusively with Global News, Brown appeared to suggest a PCPO star chamber had decreed his fate, with his most senior advisers abandoning Brown while he was delivering an emotional, not terribly coherent denial of charges about to become painfully public.

Within hours, Brown was out of the official opposition leader’s office at Queen’s Park. There is audio of Brown assuring someone he had given instructions that his resignation letter be prepared. The party would be protected and Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne defeated.

READ MORE: Former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown says he grew the party, so he should lead it

Did backroom brokers do as Brown now accuses? Perhaps. Brown was hardly a dynamic and energetic leader of a political party which, under Brown’s predecessor Tim Hudak, twice snatched defeat from the jaws of electoral victory.

I expressed the view recently that a Brown-led Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario might well, on June 7, totter across the finish line behind both the Liberals and New Democrats.

So, what happens now, with Brown’s return to the fray, engaging in the party-sanctioned contest for his old job?

Brown declared to a Windsor radio station Tuesday morning he would avoid the legislature as it re-opened. A smart move. He was going to have to sit as an independent, having been kicked from caucus last week. Why not assume some control of the issue?

READ MORE: Ontario Liberals bring in bill retaliating against ‘Buy American’ provisions

Of the last-minute entrants competing to assume Brown’s business card Doug Ford appears best prepared and led the rest out of the gate with the no carbon tax policy reversal. Christine Elliott is the most experienced and Tanya Granic Allen the most passionate.

LISTEN: Doug Ford joins the Roy Green Show

Caroline Mulroney appears more suited to the wading pool than the deep end of a brief and bruising campaign, only to be followed virtually immediately by another.

READ MORE: Patrick Brown enters Ontario PC leadership race amid sexual misconduct allegations

Now add Brown. He cannot expect to rely on the sympathy card.  Will Brown display strength or revert to an inarticulate, leftish pitchman causing the Tim Hudak thumpings to appear like the good old days?

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is under stress. Like the octopus?

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Corus radio network.

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