Tory Leader Patrick Brown attacks Liberals in...
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May 11, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Tory Leader Patrick Brown attacks Liberals in maiden speech

Newly minted Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown in a not so subtle way attacked the Liberals in his maiden speech


Newly minted Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown eschewed niceties and came out guns a blazing.

Within 48 hours of winning the leadership, the 36-year-old federal MP from Barrie was on the floor of legislature Monday to welcome Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

But his speech soon turned to unflattering, partisan comparisons between the debt-ridden Ontario and energy flush Quebec.

“You realize that to be able to have a prosperous province, you need to have a strong economy. This gives you the ability to invest in projects and people,” Brown said, referring to the fact Quebec has balanced its books while Ontario is staring at an $8.5-billion deficit and high electricity rates.

“Recently, you have benefited from Xstrata Copper deciding to move its business to Quebec, in large part because of the reasonable hydro rates you offer. This is the type of example that I’d like to see here in Ontario: businesses moving here because of our hydro rates, rather than moving away,” said Brown, with one eye on Couillard and the other on Premier Kathleen Wynne.

His out-of-the-chute partisan remarks caused eyes to roll on both sides of the house.

Wynne said the new leader could have taken the high road.

“It is all to easy to get trapped in the cut and thrust of particular issues, a particular partisan or ideological position . . . . I think the more challenging and the more unusual opportunity is to be non-partisan and to really think about the well-being of the province and the provinces and the country. I think this morning was a moment to do that,” she said.

Veteran Liberal MPP and cabinet minister Jim Bradley said Brown had an opportunity “to rise to the occasion and be statesman like but instead engaged in the kind of hyper partisanship that’s been part of the scene in Ottawa for a number of years.”

Brown tried to explain to reporters later than he was simply complimenting Couillard on a running a province with balanced books and affordable electricity.

“If the Liberals feel that a compliment towards a balanced budget and low energy rates is an attack on their record well maybe then that’s something they need to think about,” he said.

Wynne turned up the heat on Brown saying she’ll call a byelection as soon as he can find a riding.

“I have no interest in keeping the leader of the opposition out of the legislature so . . . we would want to facilitate a byelection,” Wynne told reporters Monday after joining Brown, and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in welcoming Couillard to Queen’s Park.

After soundly defeating MPP Christine Elliott at the party’s leadership convention Saturday, Brown’s next major political hurdle is getting a seat in the legislature.

Wynne said the Liberals are not going to hand it to him.

“Will we contest it? Will there be a (Liberal) candidate? Yes, that is the tradition in provincial politics in this province is that there are candidates put up from all parties and we would absolutely do that,” she said.

Brown, who is stepping down Wednesday as an MP, has been vague on what his plans are for getting a seat — offering only that he would like to run for election in a byelection sooner than later. He won’t say whether a sitting Tory member has offered to give up his or her seat.

“At some point in the near future I would like to enter the provincial legislature . . . . I am making no announcement today on what seat I will be pursuing,” said Brown, whose pension after nine years in Ottawa is $44,537 a year starting at age 55. If he lives to be 90 it is estimated, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he will collect $2.2 million.

He won’t, however, be getting a severance when he resigns his federal post because that kicks in only when the House of Common is dissolved. Not until he wins a byelection will he receive a paycheque from Queen’s Park. When he does he will receive more than $181,000.

Toronto Star

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(2) Comment

By Pat | MAY 13, 2015 09:41 AM
Quebecois are revolting due to the cuts being made in the name of balancing the budget. It is questionble whether Couillard's government will get re-elected. Quebec has the resources to produce hydro cheaper than some of the other provinces. There is a time and a place for taking shots at the opposition and this was not it.
By Rick | MAY 12, 2015 05:19 PM
"I think the more challenging and the more unusual opportunity is to be non-partisan and to really think about the well-being of the province and the provinces and the country.".......Wynne actually said this with a straight face. I'm curious in what YEAR can we expect the Liberals to start thinking of the well being of the province? Year 12? 13? 14 maybe?
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