Charges have not been laid, the allegations have not been proven, but Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown has resigned after a CTV report in which two women accuse Brown of Sexual Misconduct. The allegations date back to when Brown was the federal MP for Barrie. The women say they were teenagers at the time. Brown, clearly shaken, vehemently denied the allegations at a hastily called news conference and said he will stay on as MPP for Simcoe North as he fights to clear his name. “These allegations are false and have been difficult to hear. However, defeating Kathleen Wynne in 2018 is more important than one individual. For this reason, after consulting with caucus, friends and family I have decided to step down as Leader of the Ontario PC Party. ” Barrie Police Constable Nicole Rogers confirms no charges are laid.
Brown did not resign immediately, but several members of staff did. After learning of the allegations, they had urged Brown to resign for the good of the party. When he initially refused, they tendered their resignations. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Brown had no choice but to resign as leader, “He deserves his day in court, but no person can lead a political party in this province with allegations like these hanging over his head.” Premier Kathleen Wynne was asked if Brown was now on public trial.
With the allegations being made in a public forum instead of to law enforcement, OPP Staff Sgt. Carole Dionne says that could have an unpredictable effect on any potential future legal action.
With a provincial election just five months away, the Conservatives have little time to choose a new leader in hopes of dethroning the ruling Liberals, while Deputy Leader Steve Clark says the short term way is clear.
Christine Elliott’s name has come up. She ran against Brown in the last leadership campaign. Others, Vic Fedeli, Lisa Mcleod and Monte McNaughton withdrew from the race prior to the vote. There has also been talk of finding a ‘fresh’ face, perhaps Caroline Mulroney, who was chosen the PC candidate for York-Simcoe.
Here’s Brown’s statement last evening, prior to his resignation…
And here is his resignation statement:
“These allegations are false and have been difficult to hear.
“However, defeating Kathleen Wynne in 2018 is more important than one individual.
“For this reason, after consulting with caucus, friends and family I have decided to step down as Leader of the Ontario PC Party. I will remain on as a MPP while I definitively clear my name from these false allegations.
“Over the past three years I have led a major transformation of our party taking it from 12,000 to 200,000 members, fundraised more money than any provincial party in Canadian history, and recruited some of the most qualified and diverse candidates in the history of our party. I have developed a pragmatic and winning campaign platform after a historically comprehensive policy process.
“These important building blocks are essential for defeating Kathleen Wynne this year and her tired government that has repeatedly made reckless decisions and put insiders ahead of the people.
“I’m confident the president of our party and caucus will convene an expedited process to elect my successor who I look forward to working with.”