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Chris Serie: Patrick Brown is an inevitable product of the failure of the leadership choice process.

The days when only Caucus elects leaders will probably pass forever. But at least it should be said

Patrick Brown gestures at the Conservative Party of Canada English leadership debate in Edmonton, Alta., Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The Conservative Party of Canada's leadership election organizing committee has disqualified candidate Brown from its race to replace former leader Erin O'Toole.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Conservative Patrick Brown Gesture Wednesday, May 11, 2022, Canadian Party English Leaders Debate in Edmonton, Alta. The Canadian Conservative Party Leaders Election Organizing Committee has disqualified Candidate Brown as a successor to former leader Erin Otur. Canada Press / Jeff McIntosh Photo: Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press

Patrick Brown is conservative Judging from social media posts on Tuesday night when there was news of being banished from a major leadership race, most people's minds were logically heading in the direction of membership fraud. Everything from buying memberships of people who are really interested (illegal) tomuch more complexand flashy dangerous ones. .. In some revelations after Brown was (almost literally) expelled from the office of the opposition leaders in Queen's Park, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Membership List was primarily a semi-fictitious document. On top of that, it's very easy to commit a low-level membership scam, and even today many party insiders laugh at it as the standard for the course.

It happens that Brown has not been accused of membership fraud. Rather, unnamed leadership committee sources who told the media refer to compelling evidence that one or more private companies may be paying Brown's campaign staff. (Brown, Mayor of Brumpton, Ontario, was accused ofalready using city officials for leadership bids.)

"Private companies" are more than usual. Sounds bad hijinks. Depending on the private company in question, that can be very bad. We have abolished corporate and union funding in federal politics, but few people claim to be back.

But it wasn't long ago that the entire industry decided to win this race without worrying about just one company. Andrew Scheer rarely even denied that Big Dairy brought him leadership and that the farmer and his supporters gained membership on several important vehicles all at once. Indeed, he seemed to find it interesting. Remember his milk whiskers at a press gallery dinner. Hohoho.

Assuming that individual dairy voters purchased their membership, there was nothing remotely illegal or unethical about it. That's exactly how the system is set up. Candidates promise you what you like and sell you membership with the understanding that you will vote for them. In fact, I've seen some people on social media announce that they have purchased a conservative membership solely for the purpose of voting against Pierre Poilievre. No matter who wins the leadership, there is no way on earth to vote for the conservatives in the next general election.

It's not new, not to mention the bad reputation. For decades, I bought an Alberta Progressive Conservative membership for a few dollars, basically allowing non-Stories to vote for the next premiere.

  1. Patrick Brown was disqualified from the Conservative party leadership race on Tuesday. FileTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

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  2. Former Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown and Leadership Election Organizing Committee chair Ian Brodie.

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The question no one could answer to me is why someone with the long-term welfare of the party has something to do with this arrangement. is. Who is this system for non-very ambitious individuals it may benefit from?

Sure, Caucus isn't. Caucus once elected its own leader, but for whatever reason, it sticks to those whose memberships are united.

"It's for the members," says the supporters. "I have to water the roots of the grass."

That's not the case. Caucus is only "stuck" to that leader until an unpopular leader designs the expulsion of that leader. It does not require any consultation with the grassroots. Brown may be the ultimate example of a leader who does not respect membership. After opening a courtroom to social conservatives and revealing anti-carbon tax policies through the Ontario Tory leadership campaign, he threw them out of the bus and crossed a once-elected bridge. .. Erin “True Blue” O’Toole has done a similar operation at the federal level.

And if Poilievre carries the September day, we'll see something similar. He put his weight behind Freedom Convoy to win leadership and disappointed many when he tried to win the Prime Minister's residence, even in his own party, and even in the dislike of many others. , Wise money slowly retreats to him. It certainly sounds like a net negative to me.

Brown's campaign, if careless, put together this issue pretty well in a counter-argument to Tuesday night's disqualification.

No. They can still vote for Canada's next Conservative leader. You cannot vote for those who have signed up. If it "takes away" their rights, that is, if they are completely uninterested in voting for leaders, don't worry in the general election. What was good about the members of the party in the first place?

Obviously, this isn't just a problem for Canadian conservatives and conservatives in general. All Westminster democratic parties are moving further away from the (now quite ancient) idea that Caucus is the best choice for leaders. Ambitious people will not want to be a party member who proposes to "regain power from the grassroots" as the enemy assembles it.

But even today, most Canadians say that MP loyalty should be above all members, not leaders or parties, not national membership of the party. I think you will agree. It's a conservative idea, a democratic idea, worth the fight, and a great need for a champion. British conservatives may not be a model of stability, dignity, and calm at this point, but British Tory's leadership choice process is at least because British politics is much more naturally chaotic than we are. A discussion that hits me as a modest potential improvement worthwhile: Members vote and Caucus chooses between the winner and: At least, for sure, it's worth discussing.

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