Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct after denying the claims at a surprise press conference at Queen’s Park Wednesday night.
Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown says sexual misconduct allegations are ‘categorically untrue’
The reports stated that the allegations are from over 10 years ago and involved a high school student. The women have not been named. The allegations, which were first reported by CTV and have not been proven in court, quickly drew reactions from several Canadian politicians and a few members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.
Directly following the conference, where Brown called the accusations “categorically untrue,” several senior staffers in the Ontario PC Party promptly resigned. Early on Thursday morning, Brown followed stepped down as leader of the Ontario PC Party through a written statement posted online.
WATCH: PC Leader Patrick Brown says ‘I’ll be at work tomorrow’ after denying sexual misconduct allegations
The first resignations were announced on social media by campaign manager Andrew Boddington, chief of staff Alykhan Velshi and deputy campaign manager of strategy Dan Robertson.
The three released a joint statement stating they’d learned of the allegations earlier that day, and upon discussing them with Brown, they’d advised him to resign.
“Earlier today, all three of us became aware of allegations about Patrick Brown. After speaking with him, our advice was that he should resign as PC leader. He did not accept that advice,” read the statement.
Shortly after, Ontario PC Party press secretary Nick Bergamini and Deputy Campaign Manager Joshua Workman tweeted that they would also resign because of the allegations.
“This evening I learned of allegations against Patrick Brown. As a result, it is in the best interest of the PC Party that he step down immediately. As he has chosen to follow a different route, I am resigning as the PC Party Press Secretary.”
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted a brief response to the news Wednesday night, expressing her support for the women who raised the allegations but omitting any mention of Brown.
“It’s a difficult and brave thing to do to come forward in the way these young women have done tonight. My government and I have been clear on the issue of sexual harassment and assault. In fact our policy and our ad were called ‘It’s Never Okay.’”
Members from Brown’s caucus also responded to the reports following the press conference.
PC MPP Randy Hillier told Ottawa Citizen reporter David Reevely that “Mr. Brown will have to go… We don’t have a campaign team or a leader at the present time.”
Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Lisa MacLeod released a statement on the allegations saying that she “will not tolerate abuse and harassment” and will do everything in her power to fight against it.
“My heart goes out to the women who have been impacted by this behaviour,” the statement says. “It takes courage to come forward and makes these claims.”
In addition, Ontario PC Candidate and former MP Susan Truppe released a statement on the claims brought by Brown’s accusers, calling for him to step down.
“During my time as Parliamentary Secretary for Status of women, I heard from survivors. I heard from women suffering sexual harassment and abuse. I’m on their side.”
She went on to say that the allegations against Brown were both “serious and troubling,” and did not reflect the values of her constituents.
PC candidate for York-Simcoe tweeted a statement in response to the early Thursday morning in response to the allegations against Brown that quickly led to his resignation as Ontario PC party leader.
“We are living in a powerful moment where women and girls across Ontario, across Canada and around the world are ending their silence – and their stories of sexual harassment are being heard,” read the statement, which did not mention Brown.
Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released a statement later on in the evening calling for Brown to resign. In the statement, Horwath states she is “disgusted and disturbed” by the sexual misconduct allegations against Brown.
“My thoughts are with the brave young women who have spoken out to describe horrible, degrading and unsafe experiences they say happened at the hands of Patrick Brown,” read the statement.
The statement went on to say that Brown “deserves his day in court,” but that he must resign immediately.
Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (delete: released) also released a statement calling on the allegations against Brown to be “investigated fully.”
“Sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment have no place in Canadian society, especially within our political system. I understand how difficult it can be for women to come forward under these circumstances.”
Early Thursday morning, Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh weighed in on the allegations against Brown, and calling on him to resign.
“Our thoughts are with the brave women who have had the courage to speak out about their experiences. We believe survivors & offer all survivors our unwavering support. The allegations against Patrick Brown are serious and deeply disturbing, and he should resign immediately.”
During the press conference, Brown said he rejected the allegations in the “strongest possible terms.”
“These allegations are false. Categorically untrue. Everyone of them. I will defend myself as hard as I can with all the means at my disposal.”
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