Patrick Brown enters Ontario PC leadership race amid sexual misconduct allegations
Patrick Brown wants to reclaim his role as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party and is entering the leadership race just weeks after resigning amid allegations of sexual assault.
Brown is listed as the fifth candidate on the Ontario Elections website and was seen filing nomination papers at PC part headquarters Friday afternoon, despite being removed from the PC party caucus by interim leader Vic Fedeli earlier in the day.
WATCH: Patrick Brown enters Ontario PC Party leadership race
But his comeback maybe short lived.
A senior party official told Global News that while Brown can run as a candidate, when the party reviews his application for his riding Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte at a later date, it’s unlikely it will be endorsed – ending his leadership bid.
The 39-year-old from Barrie stepped down in late January just hours after CTV reported that two women were accusing him of sexual misconduct. He denied those allegations and says he intends to sue CTV.
WATCH: Brown says sexual misconduct allegations are politically motivated
He said his platform – the Peoples Guarantee – was needed to get Ontario “back on track.”
“This isn’t about me, this isn’t about the PC party, this is about making sure on June 7 the PC party is successful,” Brown told reporters Friday. “I think my name has been cleared and now it’s about getting Ontario back on track.”
According to the Ontario PC party leadership rules, a candidate must be a party member in “good standing” and collect the names and signatures of 100 members of the party, with no more than 10 residing in the same electoral district and pay a total of $125,000 in fees and deposits.
The cut-off date for candidates seeking the leadership was Feb. 16 at 5 p.m.
Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said even if he comes up with the money, the party’s executive doesn’t have to accept his nomination.
“They can strip him of his Conservative party membership and they just kicked him out of the caucus,” Wiseman said. “If you buy a membership they don’t have to accept it. They can reject it.”
Leadership candidate Caroline Mulroney said she was disappointed by Brown’s attempt to enter the race, calling it a distraction. “A leadership election is not the place for him to try to clear his name,” said a post on her Twitter account.
WATCH: Patrick avoids questions whether he resigned, says members ‘want party back’
Former Toronto councillor Doug Ford also took to Twitter to call it a “distraction” from the campaign to win the provincial election, and said the party was stronger without Brown.
“Patrick Brown should focus on clearing his name,” Ford said.
Former MPP Christine Elliott said she is focused on beating Premier Kathleen Wynne in the upcoming June election.
“With fewer than 100 days, now is a time for unity,” she said. “I am the leader that can unite the party and beat Kathleen Wynne.”
Brown’s decision to enter the leadership race comes roughly one day after the four candidates – Mulroney, Ford, Elliott and Tanya Granic Allen – completed their first leaders’ debate.
WATCH: Patrick Brown claims the announcement of his resignation as party leader was done without his permission
Mulroney and Elliott said during the debate that Brown should be allowed to run for the party in the upcoming election, while Doug Ford said he would revisit the issue if he was elected leader.
Only Tanya Granic Allen strongly objected to the idea.
In the wake of his stunning resignation, Brown has been attempting to clear his name. In an hour-long interview with Global News, Brown called the allegations “absolute lies” and said his resignation letter was drafted without him. Global News also revealed new details about the alleged incidents that appeared to contradict parts of the original allegations.
A new audio recording reveals Brown telling fellow Conservative MPPs he intended to resign and had been working with a staff member to draft a statement.
He also made the claim that the allegations were instigated by his “political adversaries” either inside or outside his party.
“I have a number of political adversaries and so there’s a number of people who would benefit from what happened and I hope that in the course of the investigation we’ll be able to expose who was involved in this,” Brown said.
The two women, in response to Brown’s claims, have stood by their accusations, although details of from one accuser have since changed. CTV has said it stands by its reporting and will actively defend against any legal action.
*With files from Carolyn Jarvis
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.