Has Patrick Brown completed his political resurrection?

Patrick Brown has a lot of fans in Brampton. Prior to his departure from Queens Park, I was one of them. I viewed him as a different kind of Conservative candidate. One that I could have voted for. He is a likable guy that appreciates our city’s diversity. And he took a stance on addressing climate change that likely was a big part of his ouster from the provincial leadership.

Mr. Brown appeared on an episode of Brampton Focus in 2016 as leader of the opposition in the provincial legislature. He was confident, well spoken, and appeared in full control. Our production team credits his appearance as one reason that Premier Kathleen Wynne later appeared on the program. He was in a comfortable lead, yet he continued to reach out to cultural and ethnic groups in our city.

What cannot be erased however is the press event Brown held at Queen’s Park on the evening of January 24th when allegations were coming out against him. In the face of adversity, Brown looked weak and scared. He delivered a statement and ran away from the large group of assembled media. A strong leader would have answered questions and demanded that his party stand behind him. Neither happened and Mr. Brown’s political career appeared to be finished.

We will learn Brown’s side of the story in his upcoming book. For now, in his campaign for Mayor of Brampton, Brown has arguably worked harder than any other candidate in the GTA. His social media is lit up daily with photos from his outreach. Yet he is hounded by critics who question his loyalty to the city.

Loyalty is a big issue particularly when you are running to be Mayor. Brown has met the city clerk’s requirements to run for the position. He claims to have deep ties to the city, however, there is no suggestion that he previously lived here or ever paid property taxes. His outrage at our high property taxes and his plan to freeze them are disingenuous.

While Linda Jeffrey has amassed support from all 3 political parties, Brown is hitching his future on the support of former Premier Bill Davis. He has  affiliated himself tightly with detractors of Jeffrey, lead by retiring Regional Councillor Elaine Moore. The allegiances this election have made our mayoral race the most interesting in the province.

The option I have personally chosen as a voter is to give Linda Jeffrey 4 more years. The past 4 years have been painfully difficult because of the obstructionism of a majority of council who had a different agenda. I  hope that Jeffrey views the upcoming term as her final and is motivated to leave a positive legacy. And so that the city can engage again in another healthy debate of ideas with new voices.

Is this the end of Patrick Brown in Brampton? I hope not. Brown says that he and his wife hope to grow old here. The cloud of serious allegations, litigation and financial dealings hanging over him should be gone in 4 years. His critics would have much less to complain about and he would still be very young. Perhaps Brown can take the helm of a group like the Brampton Board of Trade to work on attracting new businesses and economic activity as he has promised.

We’ll find out soon if Brown is in it for the long-term here in our city, or if his campaign is merely a stepping stone.

Please vote on Monday between 10am and 8pm. You can vote in any poll location in your ward. You’ll need to bring photo ID and proof of address. A drivers license works for both.

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