The Race for Stornoway: Scott Brison
Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
-John Kenneth Galbraith
Background: May born May 10th, 1967, which would make him the youngest leader in Liberal Party history if he won. Apparently he rented fridges before entering politics. Yes, I’m not making that up. I’m not allowed to make this up.
Political History: In 1997, Brison was elected as a Progressive Conservative in Kings Hants. He resigned his seat to let Joe Clark into the House, but returned in 2000. Brison ran for PC leadership in 2003, making a name for himself, and tossing his support behind Jim Prentice. Despite voting for the merger, Brison crossed the floor to join Team Martin and soon found himself as the Minister of Public Works. There, he made sure that Judge Gomery could do his work.
Rejected Campaign Slogan: “Vote Brison and U will be happy very soon!”
Rejected Endorsement: CIBC
Rejected Platform: His 2003 PC leadership platform
Pros: Charismatic. Good speaker. Young. Sadly, has been an elected Liberal longer than many of the candidates.
Cons: Former Conservative. Now tied in with the Income Trust Scandal Thingy.
In Person: Brison’s a very slick politician. He’ll work a room better than anyone and talk to the people he needs to talk to. I’ve probably talked to him more than most of the potential candidates out there and have always been impressed with the guy.
My Take: Brison’s a very charismatic politician and I thought the PCs would have been wise to pick him as their leader in 2003. He’d make a very good leader of the opposition since he’d get media clips and attack forcefully.
But I have major doubts as to how good a Prime Minister he’d be. Brison has a tendency to resort to over simplifications and ridiculous attacks (“Stephen Harper is against bilingualism, multiculturalism, and the Charter”). If you want style over substance and a guy who might do well in an election campaign, then Brison is your guy. But we’re not just electing an opposition leader and Brison ran for PC leadership two and a half years ago promising two tier health care, massive tax cuts, and troops in Iraq.
Brison has a bit of potential and in a few years, I’d consider backing him. However, at this time, he’s still far too Tory for my liking. The Income Trust connection and his horrible handling of it is just the kiss of death for him in my opinion. After losing an election on ethics and accountability, we need an impeccably clean leader and Brison no longer fits that description.
Chances: With a lot of the old "Team Martin" behind him, I suspect Brison will do very well in this leadership race. Despite his Blackberry faux pas, I fully expect him to be a serious contender.