Tory Brown woos ethnic media

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown met with the Caribbean and Black media. Gerald V. Paul photo. By Gerald V. Paul
Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown met with the Caribbean and Black media. Gerald V. Paul photo.
By Gerald V. Paul

Fresh from his trip to India, Ontario Opposition Leader Patrick Brown introduced himself to the Caribbean and Black media corps at Queen’s Park.
Conservative Leader Brown, along with MPP Ted Arnott, who extended an invitation to the Black History Month reception, was a hit with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed Brown as “Patrick Bhai” or brother or good friend.
A lawyer and former backbench MP from Barrie, the 37-year-old Brown have called the media group together in part to woo Caribbean Diaspora members here of Indo-Caribbean heritage.
Brown started as a dark horse in the PC leadership race, only to sign up hundreds of new members, helping to push out now-resigned MPP Christine Elliott, considered the favourite of the Tory establishment.
Brown, who served in Africa, was first elected in 2006 and served as co-chair of the Canada-India Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group. He continues to engage the Caribbean community with its business people and professionals in the East Indian, Hindu and Muslim communities from countries like Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and more.
But he’s quick to say it’s about all of the people first in Ontario.
Brown is well connected to India and Modi since his days as an MP in Ottawa and through the business community there. His influence was also a plus for Ontario Premier Wynne who was in India at the time of the PC media event.
Brown says he is a compassionate leader and has been seen in temples, mosques and churches, more in the basements, practicing one-on-one communication.
“If I keep my promise of building a modern, diverse party, it would be a privilege for me to have your vote,” says.
Asked about the matter of trust, the former MP under former prime minister Stephen Harper, Brown said he hopes his pragmatic conservatism will endear him to Ontarians in light of his issues like his opposition to the Hydro One sale and support for socially liberal ideas such as changing government forms to include gender-neutral language.
But get ready for Brown coming to an event near you. Due to his lack of name recognition, 47% surveyed in a Forum Research poll didn’t have an opinion on his performance.
Come spring, he will launch grassroots consultations to tie into the party’s annual general meeting set for March, perhaps drawing on his efforts in the leadership race as he crisscrossed Ontario, bringing in new community members.
Today, the party is back at 80,000 members and Brown said he is positioned to bring on board 100,000 before 2018.
The Queen’s Park media gathering included a Caribean Camera representative, two columnists from Share newsmagazine, a freelance columnist in the wider community, including the South Asian, three representatives from the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) and former OBHS president Dr. Rosemary Sadlier who said she was also representing the national press and Media Council of Canada.