Patrick Brown was kicked to the curb and is no longer the leader of the Ontario PC Party.
Mind you, his father unsuccessfully ran to be an MP for the NDP, but he was the nephew of Joe Tascona, who was an MPP.
But we are now promised that things will be different, and the contenders will be fresh, new, different.
Doug Ford had a brother Rob, who was the mayor of Toronto. His dad Doug Ford Sr. was an MPP in Ontario.
Christine Elliott was an MPP, but her late husband Jim Flaherty was not just an MP — but the Finance Minister.
And that brings us to Caroline Mulroney: her father was Prime Minister of Canada.
Good luck with that whole new and fresh angle.
But Canada is a highly nepotistic nation: it goes beyond the adage it’s not what you know, but who you know to you don’t need to know anything; you need to be related to a politician.
Our current prime minister is the son of a former prime minister. What the son lacked in appropriate experience, skills, education and talent he made up for in a surname.
I remember bringing his lack of expertise in discussions where people told me that he’d have to know how to do it because he grew up around politicians.
I’d usually reply if that was the standard, then the children of doctors and pilots should automatically get licences by default.
We don’t gain mastery by osmosis.
When all the major contenders are even more connected than the one who was oustered, it is an interesting and troubling angle to examine.
That means there is multiple levels of a glass ceiling: you cannot be a serious contender unless you are unofficial royalty. The campaign is merely for show.
In a functional democracy, of course we’d expect some legacy candidates, but we’d also expect to see people who have broken through and bring in new blood to the process.
Premier Kathleen Wynne is horribly disliked by many in the press, but one has to wonder how much of it has to do with her policies — and how much has to do with the fact she wasn’t the daughter or wife of an already established politician, even if her family had obviously respected a good education. She is too foreign to the press who are used to names being recycled at the ballot box.
But that the candidates all overwhelmingly come from political “dynasties” seems to barely register in the press. We don’t have journalists wondering about the greater significance of having so many candidates with the same kind of background.
Canada often stagnates and lags in certain crucial areas, most distressingly our journalism — are we so used to clinging on to the seemingly familiar that we forget that diversity brings the changes we need to evolve and progress?
But the journalistic narrative implies that family dynasties are spellbinding and guarantee gravitas. They do not imply either. The reality of the situation is that legacy candidates always get “safe” ridings, and don’t have to figure out the strategies of survival from the get-go. The special treatment is telling. If these candidates had what it took, they wouldn’t need all the padding, nets, and training wheels.
If we had journalism, we’d have stories delving into the dynamics of why there are so many legacy candidates — and what other perks and benefits they receive as a result. We would be wondering what does it say for the democratic process — and whether the electorate are partly to blame looking for brand names rather than other, more relevant factors.
But we don’t have a critical press. They are often in awe and brag about the pedigrees of candidates, as if they were a luxury brand, and anyone else is a cheap no-name product destined to be thrown into an As Is pile.
It would be nice to get those answers. There is a provincial election coming up, and democracy’s health has always hinged on how well-informed citizens are about those who fight tooth and nail to wear the crowns to lead them.