Roy Green: Is Patrick Brown’s departure a benefit for the Ontario PC party’s fortunes?

Click to play video 'Patrick Brown steps down as Ontario PC Leader after accusations of sexual misconduct' Patrick Brown steps down as Ontario PC Leader after accusations of sexual misconduct
WATCH ABOVE: Patrick Brown steps down as Ontario PC Leader after accusations of sexual misconduct – Jan 25, 2018

Patrick Brown will have his day in court should he decide to challenge his accusers.

Two women allege Brown was sexually harassing and inappropriate towards them — one while she was still in high school. Brown denies any such behaviour and no criminal charges have been brought forward.

Nevertheless, quick resignations of key election campaign staff ended Brown’s tenure as Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader abruptly and unavoidably.

READ MORE: Patrick Brown steps down as Ontario PC leader amid sexual misconduct allegations

Conventional thinking has led to some hand-wringing by party supporters who view the departure of a leader and the rapidly approaching June 7 election as a race-ending collision just as the checkered flag is becoming visible.

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I don’t think so.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau commends women for their courage in speaking out on Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown has proven to be a largely unappealing standard bearer for conservatives in Canada’s most populous province.

Chugging toward the June 7 finish line, Brown was dragging along policies more suitable for beleaguered Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. His was a patch kit, Hail Mary pass tossed to voters in a province that is drowning in long-term red ink.

Anger at Brown simmered over the nomination process for riding candidates. The ire spilled into federal ranks as longtime stalwart and Senate Conservative leader Marjorie LeBreton described what took place during the PC nomination vote in Ottawa West Nepean as “blatantly undemocratic” in a column for the Ottawa Citizen.

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READ MORE: PC leader Patrick Brown defends platform spending

Like Wynne, Brown committed Ontario to a carbon tax, directly countering the declaration by Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party of Canada leader. Should Scheer be elected to replace Justin Trudeau as prime minister next year, the national carbon tax demanded of provinces by Trudeau will be rescinded.

I interviewed Brown on several occasions and told him I wasn’t impressed. Last weekend we tried for a quick interview as a retort to Premier Wynne’s minimum wage comments of the day. Brown’s communications staff suggested his schedule was too packed, but perhaps we might try for this weekend instead.

My reply, “Let’s see if something newsworthy develops.”

READ MORE: Who will replace Patrick Brown as Ontario PC party leader?

With Brown’s departure, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party has been provided with an opportunity to dig itself out of a hole. Under Brown’s leadership, without any sexual assault or other impropriety complaint, the party might have stumbled across the June 7 finish line in third place.

My tea leaves suggest the PCs must persuade Christine Elliott, former MPP who finished second to Brown for party leadership, to agree to assume the top job.

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Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Corus radio network

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