TORONTO, April 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Ontario MPP Monte McNaughton announced today he is dropping out of the province’s Progressive Conservative Party leadership race and endorsing Patrick Brown.
That puts Brown, Conservative MP for Barrie, in a two-way race with the widely-perceived favorite, MPP Christine Elliott (Whitby-Oshawa), widow of former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty.
“It’s imperative to have someone from the outside with a strong track record” to reinvigorate the PC Party, McNaughton told LifeSiteNews. The MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex added that he is “so excited” to back Brown, who signed up 41,000 new members to the party, compared to McNaughton’s 12,000. “We share very similar views,” and are even close in age, he said, with Brown 36 and McNaughton 38.
“People who know me well, know my wife and daughter are my life,” McNaughton said, adding that while he feels “very blessed” to have met many good people on the stump, he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
Brown told the Globe and Mail on Thursday morning that he expects to win with McNaughton's backing. Brown's 50,000 supporters would constitute the vast majority of the 76,000 PC members who are eligible to vote.
“We are pretty confident we have the numbers to win … this will certainly only enhance it,” Brown said.
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada’s pro-life political lobbying group, has endorsed both Brown and McNaughton as pro-life candidates.
CLC President Jim Hughes was “shocked and disappointed” by the news. “We’re grateful to Monte for his courage” in defending pro-life and pro-family convictions, Hughes told LifeSiteNews, “especially his courage in speaking out against the Liberals’ sex-ed curriculum.”
Hughes noted that the PC leadership was to be decided by a preferential vote, and with both McNaughton and Brown in the running, party members had two pro-life candidates to choose from. Now, the election will be a “horse race” between Brown and Elliott.
“I believe that Patrick Brown is more than capable of carrying the standard of pro-life and pro-family” as leader of the PC Party, Hughes said, adding emphatically: “Anyone who is pro-life or pro-family should not support Elliott.”
PC Party members vote May 3 and 7, and the party will announce its leader at a May 9 convention in Toronto.
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Brown now has four caucus endorsements, with McNaughton joining MPPs Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk), Jack MacLaren (Carleton-Mississippi Mills) and Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Essex). Elliott has support of 17 PC caucus members, according to campaign spokesman Mike Ras.
“I am happy to be endorsing Patrick Brown today for leader of our Party,” McNaughton said in his April 9 statement. “Patrick has demonstrated that he has the energy and ability to bring thousands of new members from diverse backgrounds and different points of view into our Party, which is exactly what I’ve been saying we need.”
“I would like to thank Monte for running a great campaign, and for his support to rebuild our Party to one that is reflective of all Ontarians,” said Brown in a statement. The provincial Tories lost the last four elections because the party “was becoming increasingly irrelevant,” Brown stated. “The same old, same old does not work.”
McNaughton has been the only MPP to speak out against the Liberals’ controversial sex-ed curriculum at Queen’s Park, and he told LifeSiteNews that Brown is “on the right side of this issue.”
The father of a two-year-old daughter, McNaughton reiterated in Thursday’s statement that he believes “parents should be the first educators of their children and that it is not the government’s role to tell parents what is age appropriate for their children.”
He vowed to “continue to stand on behalf of parents who are outraged that the Kathleen Wynne Liberals are forcing a new sex-ed curriculum on their children without any real parental consultation.”
Brown and McNaughton both spoke at a February 24 rally against the sex-ed curriculum at Queen’s Park. “Make no mistake,” McNaughton told LifeSiteNews. “I’m going to keep fighting for those issues.”