Eli Ridder | The Post
Former leader Patrick Brown entered the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s leadership race on Friday afternoon, filing candidacy documents with Elections Ontario before announcing he was doing so.
Brown came before CP24 cameras minutes later on Friday to acknowledge his candidacy, saying that “people back home wanted me to fight for myself”, but declined to make clear his status with the party and that he speak more regarding his candidacy on Saturday.
He was however, kicked out of the PC caucus on the same day, with party officials no able to comment on exactly how he would run but that he would be vetted like the other four leadership candidates.
Brown stepped down as leader of the PC Party after anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct came against him in a CTV News exclusive on Jan. 25, accusations vehemently denied by the Member of Provincial Parliament.
After staying largely silent for nearly three weeks, Brown released a fiery statement on Facebook on Feb. 14 that tore into the basis for CTV’s story that outlined two young women coming forward accusing the politician of sexual misconduct and assault.
His resignation kick-started a leadership campaign that features Doug Ford, Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney but it is unclear whether he would be returned to his former position if cleared.
There has been no criminal investigation and the accusers have not come forward but the so-called “court of public opinion” has torn into Brown, with Premier Kathleen Wynne and other provincial politicians saying they believe in the alleged victims.
Brown said he “found strength” from those supporting him following the allegations, saying that “I think my name has been cleared and now it’s about getting Ontario back on track.”
The MPP for North Simcoe said the “main” leadership candidates have been calling him daily requesting his support.
PC president Jag Badwal says Brown must still be vetted as a leadership candidate.
Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliot, Rob Ford and Caroline Mulroney are the first four candidates to enter the race and held their first debate on TVO’s The Agenda hosted by Steve Paikin on Thursday.
More details to follow. Image of Patrick Brown from 570 News.