Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls. (BlackburnNews.com file photo by Dave Richie)

Unifor Rep. Wants MPP Rick Nicholls To Step Down

A national Unifor representative is demanding that MPP Rick Nicholls either “corrects his position” or “steps down” after publicly supporting Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown.

Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls told Postmedia that it was Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne — not Brown — who should have stepped down on Thursday. Brown’s announcement that he was resigning came just hours after he denied allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by two women in a CTV News report.

Unifor National Representative Aaron Neaves says as a male, Nicholls’ comments offended him.

“When I read that the MPP in Chatham-Kent-Essex is taking this position that he feels bad for [Brown]… as a man, as a father of two daughters, and as a husband, it leaves really perplexed and extremely annoyed,” says Neaves.

Neaves says he questions what kind of message Nicholls is sending as a leader to his riding about zero tolerance.

“Mr. Nicholls, in this case, has got to stop playing politics. He’s got to understand the fact that his caucus took the position that Mr. Brown under these allegations has to exit,” says Neaves. “Nowhere did I read where he feels sorry for those two young women that came forward with the allegations.”

He says men in the community, young and old, must respect zero tolerance of violence against women.

“I will see him on the campaign trail. This is not a threat, this is the truth. I will see Mr. Nicholls on the campaign trail and I want to ask Mr. Nicholls and I want to challenge Mr. Nicholls today to either put something out there to correct [his] position in terms of zero tolerance or he ought to follow his buddy Mr. Brown’s lead and step down,” says Neaves.

While Neaves has not yet decided whether he wants to run for office, he says his position will not be changed.

“If I decide at some point, perhaps I might, perhaps I won’t, but he’s not going to take my voice away,” says Neaves.

BlackburnNews.com received the following statement from Rick Nicholls Monday morning in response to Patrick Brown stepping down as party leader:

“I am shocked by the allegations about Patrick Brown’s behaviour. As a husband of over 40 years and a father of a wonderful daughter, it goes without saying that I condemn the acts which Patrick Brown is accused of. No one should have to endure that.

The claims against Patrick Brown must be taken seriously, and he cannot be leader as long as they are hanging over him.

The PC Caucus elected Vic Fedeli unanimously as Interim Leader. He has my full support, and I look forward to working with him.”