The Patrick Brown “coup”/Inside Job theory is a masterwork of motivated reasoning.
The Brown loyalists are clearly trying to explain away their own cognitive dissonance. They are trying to convince themselves — as opposed to anyone else — that Brown is innocent.
They aren’t bothering to ask or answer any of the most basic or obvious questions that would create a believable alternative narrative, which, ironically enough, would be the best way to fight the allegations against their guy.
Personally — and this is supported by the behaviour of the Progressive Conservatives since Brown resigned as leader — I don’t think the PCs are capable of orchestrating a coup. But for those who are seeking “justice” for Patrick Brown, here are a few very, very simple and basic questions that they will have to answer.
1. Who is behind the alleged “coup”?
If Patrick Brown was forced out as a result of a coup, who did the forcing out? Was it one of the leadership contenders? One of the masterminds behind the leadership contenders? A failed nomination candidate? A donor to the PCs?
2. Why now?
If the aim was to replace Brown as leader, why did the coup planners make their move now? Why not last year, when the nomination controversies were heating up? Why not after the People’s Guarantee was released, or after the policy conference in November? Why force the Party to go through a leadership race and overturn nomination results if that could threaten their ability to organize for the election in June?
3. Was this a “coup”, or just sloppy reporting?
Brown’s defenders have pointed to the alleged relationship between the reporter who broke the story and one of Brown’s accusers. They have talked about how the relationship was not disclosed in the official reporting. Brown has also tried to refute the allegations in an interview with the Toronto Sun where he provides a different version of what happened and disputes several details of the accusers’ narratives.
So, why did the PC Party throw Brown under the bus so quickly in response to allegations that were — in the view of the adherents to the coup theory — fabricated or exaggerated to destroy him? Why did Brown’s aides abandon him so quickly? Why was there only a short gap of several hours between the press conference and his forced resignation by unanimous decision by the top party brass?
And even if the reporter failed to disclose her relationship with the accuser, does that mean the allegations are necessarily any less credible?
4. How do you explain away Brown’s well established reputation as a player?
The reason why Sarah Thomson’s allegation against Steve Paikin hasn’t gotten the same traction is because Paikin has spent a very long time crafting a persona of being beyond reproach. The allegations against Paikin may well still be true, but they just aren’t believable. Brown, on the the other hand, was well known as a player. He and his defenders have never addressed that.
5. Who knew, and when did they know it?
This is still the biggest problem, especially in light of those emails showing that the CPC was warned about Brown’s friend and fellow CPC ex-MP Rick Dykstra and did nothing. If top CPC brass couldn’t be convinced to dump Dykstra, how was the PC Party convinced to toss Brown? Was it because they already knew of his behaviour at his former club, The Bank?