Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown resigns amid allegations about conduct
Ontario’s Opposition leader is stepping down amid allegations of sexual misconduct, dealing a severe blow to his party just months before the province heads to the polls.
Patrick Brown announced the decision in a statement issued early Thursday morning, following a hastily-called news conference in which the Progressive Conservative leader “categorically” denied what he called “troubling allegations” about his conduct and his character.
In the statement, Brown said that after consulting with caucus, friends and family, he decided to step down as leader but would stay on as a member of the provincial legislature to clear his name.
He said “these allegations are false and have been difficult to hear” and that defeating Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne in the upcoming provincial election is “more important than one individual.”
Brown’s political future as Ontario’s Opposition leader was thrown into turmoil Wednesday as the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him prompted calls for his resignation.
In his late-night news conference, a visibly emotional Brown said he was made aware of the allegations hours earlier, but did not provide details on what those allegations were. He said he would defend himself in the court of law.
“I can’t speculate on the motive of my accusers, I can only say that what they are saying is categorically untrue,” the 39-year-old politician said.
CTV News reported that two women have come forward with graphic sexual misconduct allegations against Brown that date back to when the Opposition leader was a federal MP. The broadcaster did not name the women, who alleged the incidents happened at Brown’s home in Barrie, Ont., after they had been drinking in his presence. Brown was not drinking at the time, the women told CTV News.
The report said one of the women, who is now 29, claimed she was still in high school when Brown allegedly asked her to perform oral sex on him.
The other woman said she was a university student working in Brown’s constituency office when he sexually assaulted her at his home after an event she helped organize, CTV News reported. The woman said she did not report the alleged incident to authorities.
CTV News said it had viewed records of correspondence between Brown and the women. None of the allegations have been proven in court. (Source: CTV News)
Patrick Brown resigned early this morning as Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party leader after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct from two women. With just months to go before a provincial election, the PC party has been left in disarray, and political prospects for all 3 parties in Ontario turn upside-down. Below is the complete cartoon chronology of the now former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: