News / Toronto

Patrick Brown breaks silence, defends himself via Twitter

Almost two weeks after resigning, former PC leader emerges on social media to say ‘truth will come out.’

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown speaks at a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, January 24, 2018.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim / The Canadian Press

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown speaks at a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, January 24, 2018.

Former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown has broken his silence 12 days after resigning over allegations of sexual impropriety involving two 18-year-old women when he was an MP, saying “the truth will come out.”

Posting on Twitter, he wrote: “I am immensely grateful for all the support expressed to my family and myself. #metoo can be a tool to lift society and I applaud that effort.

“False allegations however undermine that good work. The truth will come out. Thank you to all.”

The embattled Brown — who has not responded to interview requests since he quit the Progressive Conservative leadership under pressure from his MPPs — did not elaborate or provide further details.

His tweet came on a quiet day in the race to pick a new party leader for the June 7 provincial election, following a flurry of activity that has seen campaigns launched by former MPP Christine Elliott, Conservative candidate Caroline Mulroney and former Toronto councillor Doug Ford.

While interim PC Leader Vic Fedeli has asked Brown to “do the right thing” by leaving the party caucus to sit as an independent for his riding of Simcoe North when the Legislature resumes Feb. 20, the MPP has not indicated if he will do so.

Fedeli has also said he would not allow Brown to run as a Conservative candidate in the upcoming election.

Meanwhile, with a winner to be announced in the leadership race March 10, the three hopefuls have not been as prescriptive, with Ford saying “let’s see what happens.”

“Patrick deserves the opportunity to deal with the allegations that have been raised against him. Maybe that’s my background as a lawyer. He deserves his opportunity to have his say,” Elliott told the Star this week.

Mulroney said Brown “made the right decision by stepping aside as party leader,” praising the women who came forward for their “bravery.”

Brown resigned at 1:25 a.m. on Jan. 25, four hours after tearfully vowing to fight the accusations in a CTV report. He did not take questions after an 81-second press conference at Queen’s Park before reporters followed him through the building to a waiting van.

Two women, who were not publicly identified in the CTV report, said unwanted sexual advances were made when they were drunk and Brown, a teetotaler and Conservative MP for Barrie at the time, was sober.

One, a Barrie high school student at the time, said after meeting Brown in a bar, she and a friend — both underage — went to his home where they continued drinking. Then, during a tour of his home, Brown stopped in his bedroom and pulled down his pants and asked for oral sex, CTV reported. The woman said she complied, but then stopped, and left.

A second complainant said she met Brown on a flight, which led to her later working in his Barrie constituency office. She too partied with Brown and others at a bar, later ending up at his home, she said. When she found herself alone with him, he started kissing her and lay on top of her, she told CTV, adding that Brown stopped when she asked him to and drove her home.

“That scenario, like of a very inebriated young employee in the bedroom of her boss, alone with him, who hasn’t had a drop of alcohol all night, just that’s an intimidating situation and I was not sure what to do about it,” she said in the television report.

Three days after Brown quit, PC party president Rick ‎Dykstra abruptly resigned over allegations of sexual assault of a Parliament Hill staffer in 2014 when he was the Conservative MP for St. Catharines, a seat he lost in the 2015 federal election.

Both men have denied the allegations, which have not been proven in court. No charges have been laid.

Shortly after Brown posted on social media Tuesday afternoon, one supporter responded: “You’ve got the support of many! You are owed due process!”

Another, however, wrote: “Sure Pat, that’s why your entire campaign leadership jumped ship at the first hint of sunlight.”

Another said the allegations indicate “a severe lapse in judgment.”

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