Correction: Only one woman was allegedly asked to perform oral sex (while still in high school). The other said there were unwanted advancents from Brown. I deeply regret the error.
At 9 p.m., Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Patrick Brown called an emergency press conference that took place 45 minutes later.
A nearly in tears Patrick Brown addressed reporters: “Ladies and Gentleman, a couple of hours ago I learned about the troubling allegations about my conduct and my character and I’m here tonight to address them. First, I want to say that these allegations are false. They’re categorically untrue. Every one of them. I will defined myself with all means at my disposal.”
CTV Investigative reporter Glenn McGregor and producer Rachel Aiello’s bombshell report on two young women alleging sexual misconduct by Brown dropped at 10 p.m. According to the women, granted anonymity in the report, they were both in their late teens at the time of the inappropriate sexual advancements that allegedly took place at Brown’s home in Barrie. Both women accuse Brown, a teetotaler himself, of giving them alcohol, themselves intoxicated when the alleged incidents took place, while he was sober. He allegedly asked one to perform oral sex on him, which she did. The other woman says there was an unwanted advancent.
Although these allegations haven’t been proven in a court of law, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the seriousness of the allegations, the fact there are multiple accusers, and social media messages, and there is only a little over four months left before the election, the court of public opinion has already spoken.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, shortly after the press conference called for Brown to step down.
“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.
I’m disgusted and disturbed by these sexual misconduct allegations.
Patrick Brown must resign, immediately. He deserves his day in court, but no person can lead a political party in this province with allegations like these hanging over his head.”
Four of his top campaign aides have already quit as well.
Brown’s leadership of the Progressive Conservaitve Party of Ontario and candidacy to be the next premier of Ontario are untenable.
This is a devastating blow to a surging PCPO, which has been acquiring star candidates like Caroline Mulroney to run and has repeatedly been polling well ahead of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Despite Brown’s world came crashing down around him in the past few hours, when scrummed by other reporters and I after his brief statements he responded only by saying he would be at work tomorrow.
Although the sexual misconduct allegations are undoubtedly a heavy blow to the PCPO, if they can manage to elect a new leader quickly there is still a good chance party can salvage things before the next election. Premier Wynne has had record low approval ratings and still polls in the teens.
Many, even within Conservative ranks, had commented that Brown came across as stiff and robotic, not personable. If anything, dropping Brown may be a blessing in disguise for the party. Better these allegations come out now than two weeks before election day.
For now, however, Wynne and Horwath’s parties are the ones set to benefit significantly from these latest revelations.
Likely the best bet for the PCPO is MPP Lisa Macleod (Nepean-Carleton), one of the strongest Conservative MPPs in the House.
Wynne is expected to make a statement tomorrow.
(Stay tuned as this, needless to say, is a developing story.)