March 11, 2022
By Ian Harvey, Contributing Author
My first reaction when I learned that CTV had settled the libel suit with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was… It was about time!
Now we wait for the other shoe to drop. Or, perhaps more accurately, the hat. This is the hat he should throw in the ring to become leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Don’t be surprised if it’s announced on Sunday.
He was redeemed. His record is clear and he can put all that manufacturing behind him. More specifically, it is timely. CTV has defended a losing position for too long. They were wrong to air allegations against Brown, then leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario and about to become premier.
Brown sued for $2 million, and CTV soon found itself in murky legal waters. The only defense was the truth and that refuge quickly eroded and a trial date was set.
In a statement agreed by Brown and CTV, it read: “Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including these details in the story and any harm it may have caused Mr. Brown.
CTV wasn’t the only culprit here, however. This was a political coup, organized and executed within the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (OPC) to oust it and bring in someone more focused on the “right” of the political spectrum. .
Brown would later relate these details in a book.
I remain convinced that the old boys’ network (which includes a few old women) was appalled that not only had Brown unexpectedly won the leadership over favorite MP Christine Elliott, but had the audacity to mount a platform. formed Red Tory in October 2017, a series of pledges he dramatically signed.
His People’s Guarantee cut hydro rates by 12%, invest $5 billion in new TTC subways, cut income taxes and child care costs.
But the Club was most unhappy about one key aspect… The carbon tax. Brown thought it was pointless to fight the federal government over the carbon tax. He later got it right, but back then the club members had none of that. They also didn’t like the fact that he also promised to quit if he didn’t deliver, putting their second term in jeopardy.
So they sharpened their knives and fed CTV a dubious story – a lie – from an anonymous source.
None of this was true. The false allegations were to have taken place at Brown’s former home in Barrie 15 years ago. Yet Brown never owned this property at the time the anonymous plaintiff said it happened. The complainant did not live in the City at the time of the complaint. It was not until after the anonymous complainant left town that Brown owned property at the center of the allegations. CTV has never engaged in the proper fact-checking that one would expect from a national media organization.
When I read the story, I smelled a rat. It was tenuous at best and as the details emerged it was clear that Brown, a young man at the time and single, had not only pushed things but acted like a complete gentleman, as one could expect it. It was a story passed by hand to friendly media and they took the bait, hook line and sinker. It was a trap! However, he never lived up to the title.
The impact was disastrous. He was kicked out of the leadership and then barred from running again, leading to Doug Ford becoming prime minister.
He later told the Toronto Star that it was like getting “a hockey check written out” by a big truck. His career was in tatters, his reputation defamed.
Now, I have nothing bad to say about Doug Ford. Then or now. He took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.
The fact is, however, that Brown would have won Wynne’s election hands down in 2018. Heck, any conservative would have gotten more votes than Kathleen Wynne because the wave of voter sentiment had clearly backfired. the Ontario Liberal Party. As a result, they were decimated. It was up to the OPC to lose and they got Ford elected.
Brown, of course, bounced back to become mayor of Brampton, a testament to his character, his brand and, most importantly, his incredible coalition of supporters in his political network.
He’s a red Tory and perhaps better placed than former leaders Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole to unite the party and create a big tent to attract voters from the middle left and middle right. The right won’t support him, but there’s an ongoing discussion that the party can’t veer too far right out of fear or by alienating urban voters, especially in the affluent Greater Toronto Hamilton area.
As a former councillor, MP, MP, party leader and now mayor, Brown has the credentials and a strong army of supporters and foot soldiers. He has a reputation as a fiscal conservative who brought Brampton’s budget back to reality and someone who understands that social conservatism is a failure.
Patrick Brown is in a good position and Sunday will bring this leadership race up a notch.