They told us that radical social conservatives and Trumpists were the problem.
They told us that the path to victory was through building a modern, inclusive PC Party of Ontario.
They told us to keep quiet on social media. That speaking out would embolden Kathleen Wynne. That we needed to put an end to the “circular firing squad.” That everything and everyone that was the slightest bit controversial needed to be shunned. That we needed to be team players or we were off the team.
Well, while what passes for the brain trust down at the PC Party of Ontario were so frightened of some wayward activists ruining it for everyone, they failed to do a basic spot check on whether the leader had some skeletons in his closet. The smartest guys in the room weren’t half as smart as they claimed to be.
This is, of course, the charitable explanation. They just wrote off the rumours about Patrick Brown — oh, and trust me, there were many and obvious rumours — as unfounded because they didn’t know better and didn’t care to look hard enough.
Of course, when you read the statement released by these three stooges, you don’t get the sense that they are particularly shocked by the damning revelations, but that’s neither here nor there.
No, the here and there of it is that the culture of silence enforced by lanyard-wearing, collar-popping, siege-mentality-enforcing aides contributed to an environment where you can’t come forward and talk about what you know.
The PC Party culture of tolerating incompetence — the kind of incompetence that led to faith based schools, 10,000 job cuts, and “reptilian kitten-eater from another planet” emails — is the exact same culture that allowed this situation to happen in the first place, and then prevented it from being dealt with properly.
And that is how, and why, the two women at the centre of this story were placed in such an awful and unthinkable place.
Let me be clear: If you are more interested in Patrick Brown getting his day in court than you are about the women being heard and believed, or if your first reaction to this announcement was disappointment that we’ll be getting another four years of Kathleen Wynne, you are part of the problem. You are part of the culture that contributed to this.
And as a result, yeah, you are personally responsible by your partisan-fueled complicity.
Kathleen Wynne’s abject terribleness as Premier provides absolutely no justification for you to silence your objections to a man who had obvious flaws that were clear and present and had nothing to do with whatever ideology he was spouting.
Indeed, Brown’s flaws seem to make the accounts of the women even more credible — not that the credibility test really should matter at this point from what is known, but there are those for whom it still does.
So, if you don’t want to #believewomen, for whatever reason, and if beating the Liberals really means that much to you, then it behooves you to speak out and speak out loudly against the culture that allows people like Patrick Brown to be held up as the saviour of Ontario.
Or else something really bad might happen, like losing a sixth election.