Ontario Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown leaves the Ontario PC Party Head Offices in Toronto on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Patrick Brown ends bid to reclaim former job

Ousted Ontario Tory leader Patrick Brown ends bid to reclaim his former job

Patrick Brown’s quest to lead Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives ended Monday with the Barrie, Ont., politician saying the leadership race had taken a toll on his family and distracted from the party’s ultimate goal of defeating the Liberals in the spring election.

Brown’s short-lived leadership campaign, which was triggered by his resignation as party leader last month amid sexual misconduct allegations, was marred by internal party accusations of corruption and misconduct.

“It has become increasingly evident that my participation in this democratic race has, for some, become a source of distraction from the real goal of replacing this tired Liberal government with a pragmatic, moderate, fiscally responsible alternative,” Brown wrote in a four-page letter posted on social media.

“I am calling on the remaining leadership candidates to put thoughtful, considered, affordable, pragmatic public policy first,” he said.

Related: Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Four candidates now remain in the leadership race — former legislator Christine Elliott, lawyer Caroline Mulroney, former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford and parental rights advocate Tanya Granic Allen.

Brown said his friends were “subjected to attacks” after he announced he was entering the race.

“Shots were fired indiscriminately against anyone associated with me — friends within the party, business colleagues in Barrie, great people who worked with me at Queen’s Park. They didn’t sign up for this,” he said.

Brown’s departure plunged the Tories into chaos, exposing a deep rift between the party executive, which kicked him out of caucus, and the base.

Interim Ontario PC Leader Vic Fedeli thanked Brown for quitting the race, calling it the right decision for the party and himself.

“He is right to focus on clearing his name,” Fedeli said in a statement.

Related: Patrick Brown enters Ontario Tory leadership race

Mulroney, who last week repeatedly called for Brown to back out of the leadership race, welcomed his decision in a statement released shortly after his announcement.

“I know what it means when political involvement takes a toll on the people you care about the most,” she said. “Now, more than ever, we need to move forward without these distractions. Patrick has done the right thing.”

Doug Ford said he’s not focused on Brown, but instead thinks people should be paying attention to their opponent in the election — Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“I don’t care who’s in the race,” he said. “I’m focused on (Wynne) and making sure that we turn this province around.”

Christine Elliott did not directly mention Brown’s departure from the race in a statement on social media, but urged unity.

It’s not immediately clear if Brown is eligible to receive any, or a portion, of the $100,000 in deposits he paid to enter the leadership race.

Tory members are set to begin voting online for the new leader on March 2 and the winner will be announced on March 10 in Markham, Ont.

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Snoozed through the news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, the Capital News will feature popular stories from the week

Immigrant finds Kelowna job market challenging

Pearl has a Master’s Degree in Finance and was able to find work through KCR

Okanagan Eats back for another year

Okanagan Eats features vendors, chef demos, and so much more. This isn’t your average food show.

Kelowna landfill flooding

The ground is soggy at the Kelowna landfill

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest one male on child pornography charges

Search of Canoe residence leads to seizure of computers

Letter: We need a parity electoral system

I suggest that it’s high time we consider a system based on a synthesis of available data

Most Read