Kelly McParland is criticising Patrick Brown in the National Post for entering the current Ontario PC leadership race. McParland is arguing that Brown is wrecking the party.
I utterly disagree. I think Brown both has every right to run, and has made the choice that is most honourable and best for the party in doing so.
Really, at bottom, isn’t McParland’s argument against democracy? Shouldn’t matters be decided, when possible, by open popular vote, and not in backrooms?
As McParland agrees, Brown was railroaded. He seems to have been unjustly accused. Yes, in the circumstances, the party was right to dump him: time before the next election was short, and they could not know whether this might only be the first of more accusations.
Now it seems that will not be the case, and re-evaluation seems proper.
McParland says, “politics is unfair, and Brown knew politics was unfair when he decided to become a politician. So he needs to accept and submit to that unfairness now.” This is a fundamental philosophical error: mistaking an “is” for an “ought.” We might as well argue that, since there will always be murders, there ought to be no penalty for murder. Brown, like anyone, has a moral right to defend himself against injustice, and, in doing so, he is defending everyone else against such injustice at the same time.
But is he, in doing so, wrecking the party?
Given these circumstances, the worst thing Brown could have done was to stay out of the leadership race. A lot of people then would suppose that any new Tory leader was not legitimate, because Brown was dumped unjustly. It looked, many said, like an “inside job,” a coup. For what sinister invisible powers was one really voting for, then, if one voted Tory?
By running, Brown prevents this impression from taking firm hold. If he wins, he wins. If he loses, as seems far more likely, the new leader won the leadership fair and square. The party members could have stuck with Brown, and they chose otherwise. He is legitimately no longer the leader. On that basis, the party can come back together. Ghosts exorcised.
I think Brown owed it to the party to run. This clears the air. I find it sinister that anyone would think otherwise