Under first the leadership of John Tory and then Tim Hudak, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party performed credible imitations of an inflated balloon without a knot at its base, careening madly, before flopping virtually lifeless yet again into the opposition benches at the Ontario legislature.
This time it was going to be different. This time there would be no wildly grinning Liberal Captain surviving a mutinous electorate only to again bury the good ship Trillium onto the rocks of horrendous government.
This time the polls were undeniable. The performance of Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne was condemning even the yet unborn to a sea of red ink. The provincial Auditor General was only too happy to substantiate such claims with annual reports and special statements.
This time, with Patrick Brown at the helm, clear seas lay ahead. So Brown and the PCs believed.
Today, Patrick Brown has only memories of sneaking a peek at the premier’s suite at Queens Park, as he clings at best to the fringes of the party while accused of sexual impropriety. The allegations and scandal allowed for only one outcome. Cue the drums.
In recent weeks it has been Elliott, Ford, Granic Allen and Mulroney garnering headlines as they competed for the spoils remaining from Brown’s ejection. Then, ever so briefly, Mr. Brown re-entered the fray only to voluntarily walk the plank. For the second time.
The chase to become PC leader and likely next premier of Ontario has been untidy, particularly with Ford, Mulroney and Granic Allen voicing concerns of favouritism. Only Elliott remained silent.
Ford spoke of elites and puppet masters. The echo of general unhappiness from two other contenders led to a court petition for an injunction to postpone the vote for party leader for one week.
And here we are with the just over 64,000 ranked ballots declaring the victorious survivor. A sufficiently large group to equitably reflect the wishes of the majority of party members? Depends on who you ask.
But it is, as they say, what it is. The will of the 64k shall be done.
Tomorrow, Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals will screech about incompetence. “Can’t select even their own leader without fumbling.”
Wynne should by any contemporary standard of voter judgment and resolve be preparing for life in the private sector.
Yet recent history begs the question, is it possible the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will stubbornly decline to gulp victory champagne and opt instead and again for the bitter lemon of defeat?
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