TORONTO – The Latest on developments related to the abrupt resignation of Patrick Brown as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives (all times local):
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls the nature of the allegations against Patrick Brown “heinous” due their employer-employee nature.
Speaking in Ottawa, Singh said it is important that political leaders make clear that any sort of misconduct is not acceptable.
Singh says “survivors” must be believed in order to tackle violence against women and the “sad reality” that the majority of women have faced some form of gender-based violence in their lives.
“The idea of accepting violence against women as part of the culture, particularly in the political culture … we see a lot of silence, a lot of shame, people not coming forward, so we have to acknowledge the courage it takes and believe survivors,” he said.
Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli says he’ll let his name stand as the party caucus meets Friday to choose an interim leader.
Fedeli says he saw the news report of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Patrick Brown, who resigned early Thursday, calling Brown’s alleged actions “deplorable.”
Fedeli said in North Bay, Ont., that the party was “horrified, disappointed and shocked,” but said he “never saw anything that would have indicated any activity such as that” during the time he spent with Brown.
Fedeli says he believes the party can recover from Brown’s resignation before the upcoming election, expected in June.
Deputy Progressive Conservative leader Sylvia Jones says the party caucus will be meeting on Friday to choose an interim leader.
She says the party will be in a position to fight the provincial election expected on June 7.
Jones called the allegations against Brown “a shock,” saying it will be up to caucus to decide if Brown can still run for a provincial seat in the upcoming election.
“Allegations of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously — these women deserve to be heard,” she said, adding that it was “appropriate” for Brown to resign.
Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath says she was disgusted by allegations of sexual misconduct reported against Brown, and thanked the women who made the claims for coming forward.
Horwath says Brown would no longer be a member of her caucus if he were a New Democrat.
Asked if it would change her campaign for this year’s provincial election, she said it was not about her or her campaign, but about two women who courageously came forward with their allegations.
She said women need to be vocal and not allow this culture to continue.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has told a news conference she won’t call an early election ahead of the province’s June vote, saying the situation isn’t about politics.
Wynne called the women who stepped forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Brown “very courageous,” adding that she hoped they will find the supports that they need now.
Wynne says it’s too early to know what impact Brown’s resignation will have on the province’s political landscape.
She also would not comment specifically on the allegations levelled against Brown but broadly denounced sexual assault and harassment, saying it is everyone’s responsibility to “create those safe spaces.”
Brown has “categorically” denied what he called “troubling allegations” about his conduct and character.