Progressive Conservative party leadership candidate Patrick Brown on February 24, 2018. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Brown Denies Leadership Run Will Hurt Tories

Former Progressive Conservative leader, Patrick Brown insists his presence in the party’s leadership race will neither cause a rift within the party or hurt the Tories’ election prospects this June.

Brown arrived amid cheers Saturday to help officially open the campaign headquarter of Windsor-Tecumseh candidate Mohammad Latif.

Windsor-Tecumseh Progressive Conservative candidate Mohammad Latif buttons on February 24, 2018. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Windsor-Tecumseh Progressive Conservative candidate Mohammad Latif buttons on February 24, 2018. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

The visit marks the 12th time Brown has come to Windsor since he was first elected party leader in 2015, and during a speech to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters, he did not shy away from the controversy that led him to first resign as party leader and then enter the race to reclaim his job.

Brown stepped down at the end of January just minutes before a report aired on CTV of sexual misconduct allegations levelled by two women. Since then, the story of one of the complainants has changed slightly. The woman now claims she was not in high school and was of legal drinking age the night of the allegations.

Brown has since filed a libel suit against Bell Media, CTV, and several employees.

I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” Brown told supporters. “Honestly it was horrifying. It was like being gutted in a way you could never imagine.”

While Brown initially stepped down saying he did not want his presence to be a distraction in the provincial election this June, he says it was the support of party members across the province that convinced him to reenter the leadership fray.

“I was inundated with calls from party members, from candidates saying we want you to finish the job you started. We want you to take us to the finish line,” said Brown to reporters after his speech.

“My bigger concern about disunity in the PC party would be if we lost another election to the politically corrupt Wynne Liberals,” he said. “I believe running an election campaign without a platform, running away from our platform would, unfortunately, be a recipe to do just that.”

During his speech, Brown touted his record of growing the party’s membership and vowed to continue his work to modernize the Progressive Conservative platform with his People’s Guarantee. The platform calls for greater accountability from provincial legislators, spending that matches revenue, and more help for the mentally ill.

Asked why another leadership candidate could not take up the mantle of the People’s Guarantee, Brown responded, “I hope that one of them could rally behind that. That hasn’t happened.”

The four other candidates running against Brown are, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney, and Tanya Granic-Allen. The party will pick its leader March 10.