Patrick Brown Resigns as Ontario PC Leader
Ontario's Opposition leader is stepping down amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Patrick Brown announced the decision in a statement just hours after a hastily-called news conference at the Ontario legislature to "categorically'" deny what he called "troubling allegations" about his conduct.
But in his statement issued at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Brown said that after consulting with caucus, friends and family, he has ``decided to step down as leader'' but would stay on as an MPP to clear his name.
He said "these allegations are false and have been difficult to hear" and that defeating 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 are. He said he would defend himself in the court of law.
STATEMENT FROM ONTARIO PC LEADER PATRICK BROWN
“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.”
STATEMENT FROM ONTARIO PC DEPUTY LEADERS SYLVIA JONES AND STEVE CLARK
“This evening we learned of disturbing allegations leveled against Patrick Brown.
“In the interest of the Ontario PC Party we unanimously agree that Mr. Brown cannot continue serving as the Leader.
“Mr. Brown is entitled to a legal defense and due process, but he cannot lead us into an election as a result of these allegations.
“The Ontario PC Party unequivocally upholds the principle that a safe and respectful society is what we expect and deserve. We need to move forward to eradicate sexual violence and harassment across the province.
“Our caucus will immediately consult with party officials and members on best way to move forward to defeat the Wynne Liberals in the 2018.
“We will not be diverted from our mission to ensure our strong team can share our message of change.”