Newspaper article The Canadian Press

PC Leader Patrick Brown Tries to Get into Legislature in Simcoe North Byelection

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

PC Leader Patrick Brown Tries to Get into Legislature in Simcoe North Byelection

Article excerpt

PC Leader Brown tries to win seat

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Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is banking on a byelection win Thursday night to allow him to slip into the Ontario legislature just days before it resumes from its summer break.

Brown ran for, and won, the party leadership in May then resigned his federal seat as the Conservative MP for Barrie. He spent the last few weeks of the legislative session as a leader sidelined without a seat in the house, but that could soon change.

Garfield Dunlop, an affable longtime Progressive Conservative MPP, but also one of the caucus members the most openly critical of Brown during the leadership race, announced in July he would resign his Simcoe North seat to make way for the new leader.

Brown has spent the summer putting to work the canvassing and campaign organization skills that saw him beat out caucus favourite Christine Elliott for the party leadership. With all of his door-knocking and an endorsement from Dunlop in a riding he held for 16 years, Brown is expected to win.

"I think what he has shown as a politician to date, when he was the MP for Barrie, was that he was a constituency politician, that he'd work hard and that he'll out-hustle his opponents," said Rob Leone, a political science professor at Western University and a former PC member of the legislature.

"Those certainly were characteristics that allowed him to succeed in the leadership. He worked tirelessly, he had full-day schedules and he made so many personal phone calls to people that I just don't think the other candidates could match that kind of work ethic."

It also helps Brown that Simcoe North is a neighbour to his old Barrie riding, where he served federally for nine years and won the last federal race by a landslide.

"I think there's a lot of congruency between his riding that he represented in Ottawa to this one," Leone said. …

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