Maybe Patrick Brown is emulating Justin Trudeau who appeared to have not much in the way of policies heading into the 2015 election, but who nonetheless steamrolled his opponents with a campaign based on sunny ways and not being Stephen Harper. And in fairness Brown has only to look at his two predecessors, John Tory and Tim Hudak to acknowledge the dangers of being too specific about what he would do in office (see cash for ethnic schools and laying off 100,000 civil servants). And it is also true that the early release of a detailed platform makes it a target for either ridicule or idea-theft from the other side. Still with an election writ only 12 months away and a government heading towards single digits in the polls one could reasonably expect some kind of a peek at what a Brown government might do differently from the Wynne government. The provincial budget was such an opportunity, but Brown’s charge that the government was using one-time measures to mask a deficit, could easily have been substituted for opposition leaders’ budget comments since 1964. At some point Brown will have to get more specific because first of all he is no Justin Trudeau, and many of the messes created by the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals will not be easy to undo. We are locked into long-term green energy contracts, the health care system is riddled with institutionalized waste, and housing is becoming unaffordable, to name but three tough files. A five week writ may not be sufficient time for Brown to introduce himself and his policies to voters.
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