Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has ended his leadership campaign, saying he wants to focus on clearing his name, protect his friends and family, and prevent distractions from his party’s focus on defeating the Liberals in the next election.
Brown was forced out of the leadership position earlier this year over sexual misconduct allegations reported by CTV News. He has vehemently denied the allegations and is pursuing legal action against CTV for libel.
Confirming: The Chief Electoral Officer, @OntarioPCParty President and I received a letter a short while ago from @brownbarrie announcing his withdrawal from the #PCPOLdr race. The next Leader of the #PCPO will be @TGranicAllen, @celliottability, @fordnation or @C_Mulroney.
— Hartley Lefton (@hartleylefton) February 26, 2018
Weeks after his resignation was announced, Brown registered for the leadership race, joining other candidates vying for the position that is to be decided by March 10.
PC Party interim leader Victor Fedeli welcomed Brown’s decision, saying it was the right thing to do.
“I want to thank Patrick Brown for making the right decision for himself and the Ontario PC Party. He is right to focus on clearing his name,” Fedeli said in a tweet.
I want to thank Patrick Brown for making the right decision for himself and the Ontario PC Party. He is right to focus on clearing his name.
— Victor Fedeli (@VicFedeliMPP) February 26, 2018
In his complaint, Hillier raises questions about how Brown could afford the mortgage on his $2.3 million house, and alleges that he violated rules for MPPs by not declaring all sources of income, according to CBC News.
Brown has called the allegations “entirely fictional” and has said all of his actions follow the rules.
In a post on Twitter, Brown published his four-page letter submitted to the PC executive committee and leadership election organizing committee announcing his decision to halt his leadership campaign.
— Patrick Brown (@brownbarrie) February 26, 2018
In the letter, Brown explains that he wants to focus on his case against CTV, and avoid distractions from his party’s pursuit of defeating the Liberals in the next provincial elections.
He goes on to explain that his friends and family have also become targets of his “political adversaries,” and he needs to protect them.
“[My family] felt the arrows even more acutely than I did. It has been gut-wrenching to see my own family in tears, pushed to the edge, even suffering anxiety and panic attacks requiring medical intervention as a result of this experience,” Brown wrote.
“I can take a punch, but it stings when it is unfairly directed at the people I love instead of me.”
There are currently four candidates contesting the PC leadership position, including Christine Elliott, a former Ontario MPP and wife of late former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty; Doug Ford, a former Toronto city councillor and brother of deceased former Toronto mayor Rob Ford; Caroline Mulroney, a businesswoman, lawyer, and daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; and businesswoman and social conservative advocate Granic Allen.