By now, most people have heard of Brampton’s incoming mayor, Patrick Brown, having released a new book detailing the events surrounding his fall from provincial politics amidst allegations of sexual assault.
In Take Down: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown, the former PC leader does not pull any punches when chronicling his journey to the Ontario PC leadership, how he attempts to pivot the party back to a mainstream political centre, and reactions from those whom he believed were closest to him (be they staff or fellow MPPs in the Tory caucus) on those allegations.
My father use to say “A book is a book as a book”
Which means, every book needs to stand out based on the story and its content!
This week will demonstrate that the “pen is mightier than the sword” pic.twitter.com/gxgvB2Z99e
— Optimum Publishing International (@opibooks) November 12, 2018
Brown ended up stepping down within some 24 hours after the allegations surfaced in a CTV report back in January. He subsequently attempted to run for his old job before deciding to abandon that goal and did not run as an MPP again.
Months after, he resurfaced running for the Peel Regional chairmanship before that election was cancelled by his successor as party leader (and now premier) Doug Ford, which resulted in Brown jumping into the Brampton mayoral race, a contest in which he ended up defeating incumbent Linda Jeffrey in a close contest.
The book references a number of observations Brown made about his fellow MPPs, much of which has been refuted by the very people in question. One allegation is that Brown had made light of current cabinet minister Lisa MacLeod’s struggle with mental illness.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) November 14, 2018
In response, Brown said, in conjunction with his publisher, that MacLeod did not read the book and in fact he supported her during her struggle and even protected MacLeod from nomination challenges.
Clearly Lisa MacLeod hasn’t read “Take Down” as the book states how my leadership team supported her during the period in which she faced mental health challenges despite internal opposition. Please see the statement from @opibooks and the excerpt from the book. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/VezA0uPzZ5
— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownont) November 15, 2018
But perhaps one of the juiciest allegations made in Brown’s book is that current Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, who took over as the PC interim leader after Brown stepped down, was himself subject of a sexual harassment complaint. Ford was adamant of Fedeli’s innocence.
Minister @VictorFedeli is one of the most honourable, ethical, and decent individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with. I stand behind him completely from this disgusting smear campaign. He has my full support. See his statement below. pic.twitter.com/HkwhgDdcYe
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) November 14, 2018
The premier added that he would rather be endorsed by (former Liberal premier) Kathleen Wynne than Brown. Last week at Queen’s Park, the PC caucus made a show of solidarity with Fedeli by wearing yellow ties (which Fedeli usually wears) and Ford was very vocal in standing by his minister.
“He (Brown) has about as much credibility as a rock!” Ford shouted in the legislature.
So how does this affect Brampton? On first glance, some residents may think this seals the deal for the city: no university, no investments in infrastructure; Brampton is going to get ignored these next four years. I mean, how in the world are those provincial ministers going to stomach working with a man who called them out in his book like that?
But more astute observers have taken into consideration that this could be good for Brampton, such as Mark Towhey, who served as the chief of staff to the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford and understands the psyche of the Fords better than most.
Now everyone knows about the vitriol between #Brampton Mayor @patrickbrownont & the @fordnation government in #Ontario, it may actually be more difficult for the province to deny Brampton's requests without the world seeing it as petty/personal.
Maybe "the book" is a smart move.
— Mark Towhey (@towhey) November 15, 2018
The logic is that any move the Ford government makes now when it comes to Brampton has to be extra careful less it becomes seen as a vindictive move against the incoming mayor. The university funding cancellation was justified because the ones in Markham and Milton were cancelled as well, but other projects Brampton specifically asks for may not get immediately rejected as many would think.
Another way of looking at these developments is that now that Brown has put all this out there in his book, all the so-called “dirty laundry” has been aired out so there’s nothing to speculate as to what else would come next. The relationship between the new Brampton mayor’s administration and the provincial Ford government may become more clearly defined as time goes on.
Brown and the new Brampton council take office on December 3. One thing is for sure, the next four years are going to be something to watch in terms of how the new city council deals with the provincial government…and to think that relationship hinges on what was written in a book.
Photo courtesy of Dean Baxendale.