January 28, 2018

“[A] right to due process in politics? That has never been a thing”

Filed under: Cancon, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Chris Selley on the weird, fast end of Patrick Brown’s career as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives:

Many women often said they got a creepy vibe off Patrick Brown. His haircut was kind of odd. In question period, he was too shrill.

The Red Bull fridge in his office put me off. I associate Red Bull fridges and their foul contents with terrible nightclubs full of muscle T-wearing jackasses on the make. In 2012, Brown tweeted a photo of himself with two friends dressed up for Halloween at a terrible-looking Barrie nightclub he was known to frequent. He’s dressed up as James Bond. He’s pointing his toy Walther at Goose from Top Gun and Joel from Risky Business. I want to reach back through time and space and slap all three of them.

These would all be bad reasons for a bank to deny Patrick Brown a loan, or for a taxi driver to deny him a ride, or for a company to fire him from a job in the legal department.

But they are precisely the sorts of often silly, unfair, perhaps totally misguided little whims that can turn people off politicians.

It’s widely accepted that Robert Stanfield’s 1974 campaign was materially harmed by his dropping of a football. John Tory’s principled stance in favour of funding religious schools in Ontario besides Catholic ones sent the Tories’ 2007 campaign rolling downhill onto a pier that then collapsed into a lake. People still can’t believe Hillary Clinton’s emails might have cost her the presidency.

In short, there is no justice in politics. Morons win, geniuses lose, people get screwed who don’t deserve it. So it has been very strange to see some commentators and correspondents portray Brown as having been horribly hard done by in the aftermath of two women’s allegations of sexual assault and coercion at his hands.


In the (seemingly unlikely) event these allegations result in criminal charges, he will have his day in court and face his accusers just like anyone else. And we do have defamation laws in this country. Brown must surely know who his accusers are.

But a right to due process in politics? That has never been a thing.

As party leader, Brown could turf from caucus any MPP who displeased him — as he turfed Jack MacLaren after a spree of idiocies. Every four years, his and all his fellow MPPs’ job prospects rest in the hands of the voters. That’s assuming they pass a party review that considers criteria as vague as “any ethical questions or concerns,” and assuming the leader is willing to sign their nomination papers. (It seems unlikely that whoever leads the Tories into the June 7 election will sign Brown’s.)

I was never a fan of Brown, but I’m not a conservative, so it only bothered me in the sense that I thought he was unlikely to be the one to turf the Liberals out of office at Queen’s Park. I’ve paid so little attention to the man that this will only be the second time his name has appeared on the blog since he was elected leader (another Patrick Brown shows up in searches, but he was an NFL hopeful with the Vikings back in 2010).

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