FIGHT BACK ...
... AXE PATRICK BROWN'S CARBON TAX ...
... TAKE BACK OUR PC PARTY.
Since launching the AxeTheCarbonTax.ca campaign in March, to advocate against all types of carbon taxes, we're often asked: what can carbon tax fighters do in Ontario?
Whether it is Kathleen Wynne’s “cap-and-trade” carbon tax or the more expensive Patrick Brown “direct” carbon tax, it seems carbon tax fighters have nowhere to turn.
Patrick Brown is not willing to stand up for Ontario's provincial jurisdiction and fight Justin Trudeau's carbon tax. In fact, he's welcomed Justin Trudeau's carbon tax in a letter he wrote to the Prime Minister. Brown's ill-conceived policy flip flop in favour of a carbon tax is stunning considering that multiple polls have shown the vast majority of Ontarians are against the idea.
Mainstreet Research, Nanos Research, and the Angus Reid Institute have all conducted polls that show Kathleen Wynne’s “cap-and-trade” carbon tax and Patrick Brown’s “direct” carbon tax to be deeply unpopular among Ontario voters. Click here to read our analysis of the Mainstreet Research poll.
According to the Mainstreet Research poll, Patrick Brown's carbon tax has the support of only 32% of respondents. Furthermore, 42% of undecided voters disapprove of Patrick Browns carbon tax (compared to 22% who approve), with 34% stating they are less likely to vote for Brown as a result. And while Kathleen Wynne’s “cap-and-trade” carbon tax is popular among traditional Liberal voters (79% approval), Patrick Brown’s carbon tax promise is opposed by 54% of his own PC voters with up to 36% of them stating it makes them less likely to vote PC come the next Ontario election.
It is hard to believe that it was Patrick Brown who once promised that he would lead a grassroots party. Yet, despite the polls and in the face of opposition from his own party members, Patrick Brown remains committed to his carbon tax promise.
Patrick Brown’s unilateral promise to advocate for a carbon t is particularly troubling, given that while he was running for Ontario PC Party leader he promised that:
“Never again are we going to see a policy platform out of left field, by a small group at Queen’s Park…that did not listen to the candidates that did not listen to the grassroots”;
"I will not introduce a policy plank that is not supported by our riding presidents, by our candidates, and our caucus.”
Yet, Brown remains so committed to the idea of a carbon tax that in an interview he said that conservatives who believe a carbon tax is "a tax on everything that will stunt the economy" need to "evolve and mature”. Click here to watch our video showing Patrick Brown’s own evolution on a carbon tax.
More recently, it seemed that the push back against Patrick Brown’s carbon tax plans may have, at the very least, resulted in him trying to avoid talking about it. Brown has been careful not to bring up the topic of a carbon tax, but instead of vowing to scrap Kathleen Wynne’s “cap-and-trade” carbon tax and not bring in a replacement, Brown has only mused about providing “rebates” from carbon tax revenues to certain businesses. Click here to see the most recent media report.
This hasn’t stopped Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party from reminding everyone that Brown’s carbon tax plan “would cost families and businesses four times more without guaranteeing any [carbon dioxide emission] reductions".
Patrick Brown's promises of a grassroots party have been replaced by the Brown-Dykstra Doctrine. The Brown-Dykstra Doctrine (which is named after the Ontario PC Party Leader, Patrick Brown, and his confidante Ontario PC Party Leader, Rick Dykstra) serves as an open threat to any PC Party candidate or MPP. It states that any PC Party candidate can be replaced by Patrick Brown, at any time. Patrick Brown has unilaterally decided that he has the power (a power that was never given to him by Ontario PC Party members) to replace any candidate or current MPP before the next election - at any time. Will he replace a current MPP because of their past statements opposing carbon taxes? No one truly knows.
When Patrick Brown ran for leader his first campaign promise was that he would "not introduce a policy plank that is not supported by our riding presidents, by our candidates, and our caucus”?
This has long been replaced by the Brown-Dykstra Doctrine.
Sworn under oath in court filings, Dykstra (with the support of Patrick Brown) simply said that nomination results don’t matter. He referred to nominations as “little more than a concept, or guide, to the party leader about who gets to be a candidate… they have no legal force and Brown can pick whichever candidate he wants… not determinative of who will ultimately be listed on the ballot as a PC party candidate in the general election…“
Dykstra goes on to state that Patrick Brown “alone has the power … to decide who can and cannot be a contestant or a party candidate. The Nomination Meeting process is essentially a recommendation to the Leader as he makes this decisions.”
As if that wasn’t enough of a slap in the face to the grassroots members of his party, Dykstra then attempts to justify his position by citing four instances of political party leaders in Canada who appointed candidates and uses the example of Stephane Dion (another carbon tax advocate), Paul Martin and Kathleen Wynne. That's right - he cites 4 Liberal Party Leaders to justify his position despite the fact that the Ontario PC Party constitution calls for all nominations to be "open, public, and democratic". At despite doing his best to use examples of Liberal Party Leaders appointing candidates, Dykstra fails to mention though that even in each of these circumstances, nomination meetings had not occurred whereby members of these parties were under the impression that their vote would count!
The Brown-Dykstra Doctrine makes things painfully clear, if Patrick Brown has decided to take such a cavalier approach to nomination meetings, there was clearly never intention of a grassroots policy process that would be open and give Ontario PC Party members a "say" on policy.
Furthermore, the Brown-Dykstra Doctrine explains why we have yet to hear any opposition to Patrick Brown’s carbon tax plan from Ontario PC Party MPPs or candidates.
Why would any candidate risk speaking his views on the issue when they know their candidacy can be rescinded by Brown at any point in time, whether or not a nomination has even taken place?
How can any MPP in Brown’s caucus speak out against the Patrick Brown carbon tax plan, when clearly they are under threat to be removed as a candidate right before the next election?
The Brown-Dykstra Doctrine all but guarantees that no candidate or caucus member will be provided the right to speak out on any policy commitment of Brown's, let alone his carbon tax promise, without risking the possibility of Brown replacing them as a candidate for the next election.
Patrick Brown's Carbon Tax promise has trumped all prior promises he made regarding an “open and democratic” policy process that would ensure policy would not be imposed from the “top-down” on the grassroots.
Speaking to delegates at last year’s PC Party convention, Patrick Brown promised to set up “the largest most inclusive policy development process ever undertaken in this country”, while further proclaiming, “and I promise you this, you will be the authors of our next platform … the days of policies imposed on the party from the top down are done for good.”
Since then the opposite has happened. A November 2017 convention has been reported as being “downgraded” to a “policy rally” while the “party platform is quietly being written in advance by trusted aides”.
In April 2017, PC Party President, Rick Dykstra, confirmed in an email to party members that instead of holding a convention to vote on policies, the party would be holding a “policy conference … to view which of these policies become part of our party’s platform…”
Finally, by June 2017, the Ontario PC Party's Vice President of Policy, Rob Elliott, quit the party executive in protest. Elliott served as a vice president on the Party's executive for nine years and was determined to see a policy process conclude at a convention with party member input. His commitment was evident when as a volunteer, he came to Kitchener from his home in Ottawa to help organize a regional policy meeting. By the way, opposition to the carbon tax was the most popular idea in the room.
Judging by the way Patrick Brown and Rick Dykstra have conducted nomination votes, how can we trust them to hold a vote on the carbon tax in advance and behind closed doors?
Patrick Brown and Rick Dykstra want us to believe that some sort of new voting system is going to be held before the policy rally. But based on the way Brown and Dykstra have been handling nomination votes, it is laughable to suggest we should trust them with tallying the results of a vote on a carbon tax, behind closed doors and before the actual policy "conference".
The idea of holding an “open, democratic” policy process was a commitment of both Brown and Dykstra on different occasions. And while such an idea might have seemed novel for policy development, there is one cherished aspect of our PC Party’s history, as spelled out in its constitution, that has always been – until now - “open, public, and democratic” – the candidate nomination process.
Under the Brown-Dykstra Doctrine, a string of nominations across Ontario have resulted in reports of ballot stuffing, corruption, candidate approvals and candidate denials being delayed until the day before voting, candidates being told that their nomination papers will never be approved (after selling hundreds of memberships for months) and other such deliberate abuses of the nomination process. This resulted in seven appeals of various nominations being submitted for consideration at a Party Executive meeting chaired by Dykstra where the unthinkable happened; Patrick Brown intervened and quashed democratic due process by “appointing” all the candidates who he claimed “won” those disputed nominations thus muting the Party Executive’s right to rule on the appeals.
The fallout from Brown’s decision hasn’t been good: at least three riding association boards have quit en masse, three lawsuits have been filed, and loyal party members are fleeing the Ontario PC Party. Former Conservative Senator Marjorie Lebreton wrote a letter in the Ottawa Citizen on the PC Party’s Ottawa West Nepean nomination process stating “I have never seen anything so blatantly undemocratic”.
And Mike Harris era cabinet minister Marilyn Mushinski called out Patrick Brown by stating: "Right now, because I've just got this overwhelming sense of betrayal by my own party, I think it would be an absolute disaster if Patrick Brown became the next premier of the province," she said. "If he's going to treat his own grassroots, his own party, in such a cavalier and arrogant manner, how would he ever behave as the premier of this province? I shudder to think."
All of this seems to be forcing carbon tax fighters to contemplate leaving the Ontario PC Party.
But leaving is exactly what they want - they want to sideline us. I bet Patrick Brown and Rick Dykstra wouldn't mind one bit if we went away.
The Ontario PC Party doesn't belong to Patrick Brown - it belongs to the PC Party members and supporters.
There have been appeals to carbon tax fighters to join other smaller parties or start a new party. Even graver, a group of grassroots Ontario PC Party activists - under the moniker of “I’m Out” - are openly preparing to campaign against Patrick Brown during the next election campaign in hopes that he will lose and then be replaced. Yikes!
I am sure sidelining carbon tax fighters is exactly what Patrick Brown and Rick Dykstra want to see happen. It would certainly make life easier for them.
There is also a way that we can work from within the party.
The Ontario PC Party constitution has a mechanism that allows for an emergency Special General Meeting to be called if one third of riding associations petition for one.
Riding associations must consider such a request at a local general meeting once 25 current PC Party members sign a petition calling for a Special General Meeting.
At a Special General Meeting we can do 3 things:
1. Pass a binding resolution that ensures the Ontario PC Party will be against carbon taxes, now and after the next election.
2. Pass a binding resolution that calls for nominations that were not "open, public, and democratic" to be redone.
3. Pass a binding resolution that states that Patrick Brown can't replace any duly elected candidate or MPP before the next election.
We hope you will JOIN THE MOVEMENT to Take Back Our PC Party and help us AXE THE CARBON TAX!
We need your help. It could be the last chance to save the Ontario PC Party and ensure it works to fight the carbon tax in Ontario.