Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 30, 2018
Ontario PC president steps down amid purge of Patrick Brown loyalists from top posts
The fallout from Patrick Brown’s resignation last week continues to roil Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives as members wage an internal civil war over the future of the party and Brown loyalists are ousted.
Rick Dykstra stepped down as PC president Sunday evening, saying he was taking “a step back” as the party moves to “coalesce” around a new leader
Several hours after Dykstra posted his statement to Twitter, Maclean’s magazine published a story alleging he had sexually assaulted a parliamentary staffer in Ottawa when he was an MP in 2014.
The report says Ottawa police investigated the complaint. Contacted by phone Monday morning, a police spokesperson said the force could not comment on the Maclean’s report because no charges were filed.
Brown’s deputy chiefs of staff, Tamara Macgregor and Rebecca Thompson, have been assigned to different roles and their former positions abolished. Thompson, a communications specialist, formerly worked for former minister of foreign affairs John Baird when he was transport minister. Brown brought her in from Ottawa to hone the party’s message heading into an election year.
News of the shuffling of top party players comes as the PCs try to contain another internal clash over whether to hold an open leadership race in the coming months or go into the June 7 provincial election with Fedeli as leader. Fedeli was chosen as interim leader at a snap meeting of the 28 caucus members on Friday morning.
Some MPPs who spoke to CBC Toronto last week said that a leadership contest would only distract members from the campaign to defeat Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. Just hours after Fedeli was chosen, the party’s executive committee opted to hold a leadership race.
The move was met with cautious optimism by those who favour an open contest, such as dozens of current PC candidates, including Caroline Mulroney, whose name has been floated as a possible leadership contender.
In an email sent out to party members, the president of the Eglinton-Lawrence riding association in Toronto urged the party to stick to its decision to initiate a fair and open leadership race.
“The Ontario PC Party is not made up of 28 people. It is made up of over 200,000 people,” said Clare Schulte-Albert. “This is a democracy, and we must all have a say in who we vote as our leader.” (Source: CBC)