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Lack Of Female PC Candidates In Ontario Byelections Is Unacceptable

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PATRICK BROWN
Peter Power/CP
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On Saturday, I woke up to the news that the former Ontario Ombudsman is going to be the candidate for the PCs in the coming byelection in my home riding of Ottawa-Vanier.

On the surface, this looks like a good move by Patrick Brown and the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. Marin has a profile and has been a consistent critic of the current government, to top it off, he is actually an Ottawa area native.

Byelections are about name recognition, and Mr. Marin certainly has that. But byelections are also mini referendums on the party leader and despite Kathleen Wynne's currently popularity, it may be time to send young Mr. Brown a message about his own shortcomings.

Since Patrick Brown became leader, not a single female candidate has stepped forward to express interest in a nomination for a byelection.

It's 2016 after all and we haven't seen the PCs offer up a single female candidate during their current streak of byelection victories. You have to scroll way down the list of endorsements for Mr. Brown to find a few female endorsements.

I have to give Patrick Brown credit for his work in diversifying the PC base beyond the traditional old white males and rural voters. His push towards greater diversity and embracing less hard line Conservative policies is admirable. We have heard rumours about many high-profile candidates running for the PCs in 2018, including CFL superstar Mike "Pinball" Clemens, but not a single female.

Since Patrick Brown became leader, not a single female candidate has stepped forward to express interest in a nomination for a byelection. Is he appointing high-profile men because he knows they have the best chance of getting elected? Or is there something about his leadership that just doesn't attract female candidates? What we do know for sure is he did not get rid of his caucus member who made sexist jokes, and who was rumoured to be helping oust high-profile female PC Lisa McLeod.

As a voter in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, I will have to consider what message I want to send when I cast my ballot whenever this byelection is called. Do I remind Kathleen Wynne that I am not happy about my Hydro bill, something she has acknowledged and is doing something about. Or, do I let Patrick Brown know that his social Conservative pandering and ignoring half the population in his candidate selection process is unacceptable to people like me.

Only time will tell.

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