Toronto mayor calls allegations against Brown ‘saddening and disturbing’
In a statement released Thursday morning, hours after Brown's wee-hours resignation, John Tory said: "One thing which is changing, as well it should be, is that victims of assault and harassment are increasingly coming forward and making their voices heard, knowing that diligent investigation and accountability will follow."
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The resignation that rocked Queen’s Park also shook Toronto city hall, where Mayor John Tory called sexual misconduct allegations against Patrick Brown “saddening and disturbing.”
In a statement Thursday, Tory applauded the women who anonymously made allegations to CTV news against Brown, who resigned as Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader while denying any misconduct.
“One thing which is changing, as well it should be, is that victims of assault and harassment are increasingly coming forward and making their voices heard, knowing that diligent investigation and accountability will follow,” Tory said.
“Political leaders have a responsibility to set a high standard, both through their words and their actions, and we must all state loudly that this type of behaviour is never okay.”
Tory, himself a former Ontario PC leader who in December hosted Brown at city hall, added that he is “committed to a safe, inclusive and respectful city. That includes as a priority women and girls being able to live and work without any fear of harassment, assault, violence or intimidation.”
Two women separately accuse Brown of misconduct when he was a Barrie MP. The women say that, while one was in high school and the other in first-year university, he behaved improperly with them at his home while they were drunk and he was sober.
The one who was in school says that, after meeting Brown while drinking underage in a Barrie bar and going with people to his house, he pulled down his pants and demanded oral sex. The other woman says that, when she worked in his office, Brown supplied her with free drinks at a bar. Later, while giving a tour of his home, an aroused Brown kissed and climbed on top of her, she says, stopping and driving her home only after she protested she had a boyfriend.
Neither woman reported the incidents to police. A tearful Brown told reporters Wednesday night that the allegations are “categorically untrue.”
Tory’s deputy mayor, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, was an early supporter of Brown and has remained close with him. Brown attended the meeting where Minnan-Wong won Progressive Conservative nomination to run against Liberal incumbent Michael Coteau Don Valley East in the June election.
Minnan-Wong did not reply to calls Thursday but released a statement saying he learned of the “deeply troubling allegations” Wednesday.
The serious allegations should be “fully investigated”, he said. “As political leaders, we have a responsibility to set a high standard and to ensure we all live in a safe, respectful environment free of harassment.”
Minnan-Wong also said he would be consulting fellow Progressive Conservatives on “how best to move our party forward.”
The bombshell hit city hall Wednesday night as Tory’s executive committee met behind closed doors on an item related to Quayside waterfront district.
While there are officially no parties at city hall, many politicians and their staff wear their party stripes proudly.
Councillor Gary Crawford, long rumoured to be a possible Progressive Conservative candidate in Scarborough, did not return calls Thursday.
Among the many questions is the future of Brown’s $5-billion pledge to Tory that, should he became premier, the province would assume the costs of running Toronto’s subway system and revive Rob Ford-era plans for a Sheppard subway to Scarborough.
The fate of that and other promises in Brown’s “People’s Guarantee” platform are expected to be decided after the PC party chooses an interim leader. MPPs are meeting Friday morning to decide the process for the unexpected task.