There could be a dark horse in the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race. Patrick Brown MP is starting to stake a claim to large numbers of membership sales, and seems to be attracting support from a number of workers from other candidates who have dropped out.
Patrick Brown says that more than two dozen senior organizers from the former Vic Fedeli campaign team have joined his campaign.
“I’m very happy to welcome over two dozen key organizers from Vic’s team,” said Brown. “We are working together to build the PC Party of Ontario’s future, a party 100,000 strong with members from every walk of life and every corner of the province, and Ontario’s next government.”
While Vic Fedeli endorsed Brown’s rival, most of his key campaign organizers have chosen to join Patrick Brown, according to a media release from the Brown campaign, #ForTheWin.
Many are from across Northern Ontario, including Thunder Bay, Kenora and Sudbury. Included among the two dozen who’ve joined Brown are:
- Gareth Neilson – former Director of Field Organization, Team Fedeli.
- Tannis Drysdale – former Senior Advisor/Northern Chair, Team Fedeli; Northern VP ONPC.
- Dave Dillon – former Southwest Regional Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Michael Jakubcak – former Durham Regional Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Shawn Morrison – former Eastern Ontario Regional Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Jon Pukila – former Atikokan/Thunder Bay-Superior North Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Geoff Gillon – former Kenora Rainy River Organizer, Team Fedeli; KRR Riding President.
- Rob Cooper – former Hamilton area Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Diane Suski – former Regional Lead Sudbury/Nickle Belt Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Dennis Butler – former Regional Lead/Timmins Organizer, Team Fedeli; Timmins Riding President.
- Randy Aulbrook – former Regional Lead/Timiskaming Organizer, Team Fedeli; Candidate 2011.
- Mark Gilliam – former London area organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Diane Litowski – former Riding Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Ken Burnett – former Riding Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Nathan Kolomaya – former Riding Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Bill Litowski – former Membership Seller, Team Fedeli.
- Arn Brown – former Membership Seller, Team Fedeli.
- Elaine Smith – former Riding Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Bill Kiely – former Riding Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Hans Zuriel – former Riding Organizer, Team Fedeli.
- Ron and Sue Fenney – former Riding Organizers, Team Fedeli.
Brown states, “I’ve already brought thousands of new members into our Party, men and women, old and young, anglais et français. All of them are united by a passion for a brighter Ontario. They reflect the modern face of Ontario. Our Party should too.”
“To win the next election, we must grow,” Brown told a standing room only crowd at the Party’s third leadership debate in Ottawa Wednesday night. “To win Ontario’s confidence, we must build a party that better reflects the people of Ontario.”
Brown acknowledged those in the audience who were part of the 10,000 members who had stood by the party through thick and thin.
“You are the heart and soul of our Party,” said Brown. “Thank you for keeping the fire alive. Now, it is time to stoke the flames.”
Brown was shocked, he said, to hear about a survey that showed 84 per cent of the Party’s current membership was over the age of 50. More than half the Party’s members were over 65, he said. It is time to build a broader base of support.
“Help me build a Party that your children, and their children, will want to belong to,” said Brown.
For many in the Progressive Conservative Party, Patrick Brown is an outsider without a lot of opportunity to win the leadership. Christine Elliott is the odds on favour, but in a non-delegated convention vote, it is hard to tell exactly who is going to win.