Amid scandal, Ontario PC leader resigns months ahead of provincial election

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is without a leader less than five months before a provincial election.

Yesterday, January 24, allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against PC leader Patrick Brown. The allegations stem from his time as a federal Member of Parliament. Brown immediately denied the claims and initially refused to resign, though calls for his resignation by the caucus and his own staff were swift.

“Mr. Brown is entitled to a legal defence and due process, but he cannot lead us into an election as a result of these allegations,” said Ontario PC Deputy Leaders Sylvia Jones and Steve Clark in a statement.

Brown held a very short press conference Wednesday night denying the allegations, saying he had asked his lawyers to challenge them in court.

Hours later, around 1:30am eastern on January 25, he issued a statement announcing his resignation.

“These allegations are false and have been difficult to hear. However, defeating Kathleen Wynne in 2018 is more important than one individual,” says Brown in the statement. (Read the full statement here).

The provincial election slated for June 7, 2018 has been seen as the Progressive Conservatives’ to lose — Premier Kathleen Wynne has a less than 20% approval rating amid gas plant scandals, hydro costs skyrocketing, and minimum wage hikes.

As of writing, an interim leader had not been named.

Read more: CBC News — Patrick Brown resigns as leader

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