The political assassination of Patrick Brown: a perfect trifecta: mutineer-minded staff, a treacherous caucus and a damning news story.


“First I want to say these allegations are false. Categorically untrue. Every one of them.” (Patrick Brown, CTV News- January 24, 2019)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 20th, 2019


Part 4 of a four part article


Patrick Brown is made leader of the Progressive Party.

Sir Isaac Newton taught us that what goes up must come down. But that doesn’t always mean the faster you climb up the political ladder the faster you’ll tumble down. Though it did for Patrick Brown, if being ‘down’ includes ending up as mayor of the sizeable city of Brampton, instead of premier.

Over a year has passed now since Brown was forced out as Ontario PC leader. And if, as he contends, this was a political assassination by his own party, the question is why nobody but me is talking about it. The entire issue has virtually disappeared from the mainstream news. Perhaps it’s because the PCs are able to do a better job of changing the message than their Liberal colleagues. So maybe we’ve got this pro-liberal media bias thing wrong.

Just look at how a single speculative allegation in the Globe and Mail, about the prime minister’s office and the federal Attorney General (AG), has led to resignations, including that of the second most powerful person in Justin Trudeau’s government – Gerald Butts.

News is what’s in the newspapers. But there is zero evidence that anything illegal or even improper happened. Denials abound of direction-given and pressure-applied to the AG, and SNC is still going to court rather than getting its plea bargain. The only story here is how the media and opposition parties are colluding to ruin Trudeau’s chances in the upcoming election.

Brown hounded out of Queen's Park

Brown being chased by media after announcing his resignation as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

There are troubling similarities with regard to the CTV report which ended Brown’s leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. The allegations that Brown, the teetotaler, had plied an under aged girl with booze for sex were false on at least a couple of counts. For one thing the girl wasn’t underage and she admitted that the sex had been consensual. It was an inaccurate story which the network retracted, amended, and corrected; and over which Brown is now suing them for eight million big ones.

If this wasn’t a total conspiracy it sure looked, smelled and behaved like it. No sooner had the CTV story broken than Brown’s key caucus members convened for a conference call, without Brown. And when Brown finally got wind of the call and joined in, they had one message for him – just resign and now. They weren’t interested in his side or the story. They had the smoking gun so who needed to wait for the finger prints to come back from the lab.

Then there were the staff resignations, almost on cue in a perfectly orchestrated pincer movement – the perfect trifecta for an almost instantaneous bring down. His three top advisors led the stampede with…“Earlier today, all three of us became aware of allegations about Patrick Brown. After speaking with him, our advice was that he should resign as Ontario PC Party leader. He did not accept that advice.”

alykhan-velshiAlykhan Velshi, Brown’s chief of staff is a brilliant 30-something lawyer and policy analyst with credentials from the London School of Economics. He spent his formative years developing his skills as a neoconservative, first at the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, then as a political operative in the government of former PM Stephen Harper.

Velshi has an impressive political resume, working in Harper’s office and also advising ministers John Baird and Jason Kenny. In fact Brown had hired him on the strength of his time with Kenny. And Brown should have known that was going to be trouble. Kenny, the ultra-conservative, and Brown, the political centrist, never saw eye to eye, particularly after Kenny virtually blackmailed the MP Brown into voting against his will on an issue.

And Velshi is as far right wing politically as Brown is firmly in the center of today’s political world. Velshi had been responsible for developing the Tory opposition strategy to Liberal leader Stephane Dion’s ‘Green Tax Shift’ carbon tax proposal back in the mid 2000’s. How was he now supposed to get behind Brown’s policy of implementing a comparable carbon tax?

But Velshi swore up and down that he was on-side with fighting climate change and a carbon tax. That would have been a 180 degree turnaround from his earlier days peddling fellow ultra rightist Ezra Levant’s oxymoronic notion of ‘ethical oil’. But he was not the only obviously disingenuous Tory signing onto Brown’s policies.

Brown PG-cover-1-227x300In fact almost all of caucus officially supported Brown’s ‘People’s Guarantee” which was endorsed at the party’s November 2017 policy conference. Though Velshi’s previous mentor, Albertan Jason Kenny, stormed out of the conference once he realized that a carbon tax was one of those policies.

There is no more reasonable explanation for what happened to Brown than the way he himself penned it in his book. If it wasn’t a set up, then we’ve all been watching too much TV, or too little. This was a perfect trifecta: mutineer-minded staff, a treacherous caucus and a damning news story.

Almost immediately after the CTV report Brown became a toxic commodity – an outcast ironically from the very party he had restored out of the ruins left him by former leader Tim Hudak. Brown was eventually evicted from caucus, disallowed candidacy to run again as MPP, and even refused the opportunity to run for Chair of Peel Region after Ford cancelled that election. Kathleen Wynne had been treated better.

Brown’s book may help identify the ‘how and why’, but it might take another book to identify the ‘who’ – who were the actual manipulators of this conspiracy. Doug Ford ended up the big winner  – he wasn’t even in caucus back then. Carolyn Mulroney picked up some of his staff, but lost her bid anyway in the leadership campaign. And pretenders to the throne, Vic Fedeli and Christine Elliott, were left just out of the winners circle once again.

Brown’s former chief man Alykhan got his old job back working for interim leader, Vic Fedeli, until the provincial election when he got himself sweet-hearted into a plum job at Ontario Power Generation. Except that, in a puzzling move, Ford’s own chief of staff indirectly fired Alykhan before he’d even sat down at his new desk.

Perhaps, like the Mafia, the Ontario PCs like to bury the bodies of their worn out operatives themselves. And on that count , despite the law suits, this whole affair was just an internal thing, a PC family matter.

Maybe that is the real reason why it’s not in the news anymore?

Background material:

Brown Denial –     Insane Month –    Brown Defence Statement

Brown’s Book –      Ethical Oil –     Alykhan Velshi

Fired from OPG


Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Previous parts of the four part article.

The political take down of Patrick Brown – Part 1

Rivers on Patrick Brown – He said – she said – Part 2

Rivers on Patrick Brown – Part 3


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2 comments to The political assassination of Patrick Brown: a perfect trifecta: mutineer-minded staff, a treacherous caucus and a damning news story.

  • Stephen White

    Much of our discussion on politics focuses on politicians and political parties. Very little substantive attention goes into an analysis of the actions and behaviours of ministerial aides and the role they play in shaping the political agenda.

    People like Velshi who have so little practical or substantive real-life experience outside of the political arena end up exercising inordinate control over public policy and administration. They aren’t accountable to any political body, they fly under public scrutiny, and yet they end up controlling the destiny of our political institutions.


  • Joe Gaetan

    Gerald Butts..SNC…Justin Trudeau…Jody Wilson-Raybould..stay tuned..

Leave a Reply to Stephen White Cancel reply