TORONTO, February 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Former leader Patrick Brown has entered the PC Party leadership race at the last minute, three weeks after he stepped down amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Brown famously won the support of social conservatives when running for the leadership in 2015, only to betray them on all their major issues, including abortion, marriage, and sex education.
Brown is registered with Elections Ontario and dropped off the required $100,000 entrance fee and signatures at party headquarters today, according to the National Post.
“He’s running,” Alise Mills, a spokeswoman for Brown, told the Post.
Meanwhile, interim party leader Vic Fedeli had announced earlier Friday he had kicked Brown out of the Tory caucus, the CBC reported. “Earlier today, Mr. Brown was notified that he has been removed from the PC Caucus effective immediately,” Fedeli said.
It’s unclear at this point if the PC Party will let Brown run.
Toronto Star Rob Ferguson tweeted late Friday that party president Jag Badwal says the party has to vet Brown.
— Rob Ferguson (@robferguson1) February 16, 2018
CBC’s Mike Crawley tweeted earlier Friday that “Unless the party also revoked his membership, that shouldn’t stop him.”
Many asking if Patrick Brown is eligible to run for leader after being kicked out of caucus. Unless the party also revoked his membership, that shouldn’t stop him, according to these eligibility rules: #onpoli #pcpo pic.twitter.com/oex2V18fpC
— Mike Crawley (@CBCQueensPark) February 16, 2018
Brown’s fall came after CTV News published a report January 24 in which two women made anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct against Brown, dating back to his time as a federal MP in Barrie.
After an emotional press conference that evening in which Brown “categorically” denied the allegations, a number of Brown’s top aides resigned en masse and party senior staff advised him to step down.
Brown resigned in the early hours of January 25 under circumstances that have also come under close scrutiny in the last 48 hours.
The former leader hinted he didn’t officially resign, but an audio recording of a January 24 late-night conference call with MPPs confirmed Brown said he did not want to be an “obstacle” to the PC Party and asked an aide to draft a resignation letter, the Post reported.
However, Brown has since launched an effort to clear his name, and CTV News admitted Tuesday that the key claim by one woman — that she was in high school when the alleged incident took place — was not true, the Toronto Sun reported Wednesday.
CTV News says it stands by the rest of the allegations.
Brown announced Thursday he was suing CTV News, and told Global News in an exclusive interview that he had been the victim of a “fabricated political assassination.”
Meanwhile, his precipitous departure led to a hasty leadership race, with contestants Tanya Granic Allen, Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney and Christine Elliott taking part in the first leadership debate last night.
Granic Allen, the social conservative candidate and the only one in the debate to say she would not sign Brown’s nomination papers if he wanted to run in the June election, said she would welcome the former leader’s entry into the race.
The mother of four has taken a hiatus from her position as president of parents’ rights group Parents As First Educators (PAFE), but PAFE supporters received an email late Friday afternoon making Granic Allen’s position clear.
Granic Allen “stands by what she said last night during the debate, and in the media scrum after the debate” that Brown “shouldn't be allowed as a candidate for MPP,” the email stated.
“But for leader? She welcomes him, because finally, he will be held to account for his political crimes. And she is the only one in the leadership race who is holding him to account,” it reads.
“She’s doing this on behalf of parents, who were betrayed by Patrick Brown’s flip-flop on the sex-ed,” the email said. “She’s doing this on behalf of all the candidates for nominations who were bullied by Patrick into dropping out, or who lost their nominations because Patrick accepted the results of voter fraud and ballot box stuffing.”
Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Coalition senior political strategist, says Brown’s entry into the race is “a very bad development for the PC Party.”
Campaign Life Coalition is endorsing Granic Allen, who has vowed to repeal the Liberal sex-ed curriculum and be a voice for social conservatives in the PC Party.
“Brown is a corrupt, vote-rigging sleaze whose leftist policies and attacks on the grassroots base of the party was allowing Kathleen Wynne to make an electoral comeback,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“The PC executive and the caucus need to reject Patrick Brown’s application. They must not allow him to run, for the good of the party and the good of the province. Let’s put Brown’s corruption in the past and not invite it back in the front door again,” added Fonseca.
Campaign Life is urging supporters to buy memberships before 11:59 p.m. Friday February 16 to vote in the leadership race.
Party members will vote in a ranked online ballot between March 2 and 8 and the leader will be announced March 10.