TORONTO – The former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations last month, is running to reclaim the party’s top job. Here is what Patrick Brown had to say Friday after entering the leadership contest triggered by his own departure.
“I’ve been touched by the amount of support around the province — candidates, caucus members, party volunteers saying ‘what happened to you wasn’t right, if it happened to you it can happen to anyone.’ We can’t loose the project we’ve been working on. It’s far too important. The People’s Guarantee (party platform) was that important, about getting Ontario back on track.
This isn’t about me. This isn’t about the PC party. This is about making sure that on June 7 the Progressive Conservative party is successful. We’re not going to settle for an Ontario that’s a have-not province. We’re not going to settle for an Ontario that’s not doing everything it can.
And let me say, what I’ve gone through in the last three weeks I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It has been absolutely horrific. It was like getting hit by a truck and getting hit by a truck all over again. But what I can tell you is in that period I found strength. I found strength by the support of my family and friends, from the party faithful around the province that reached out to me, saying ‘we know what you’re about,’ and I talked about that story in National Post.
When this all happened, I didn’t know who was behind it, I just knew the stories were fictitious. Then I went to my local hospital for a pre-planned surgery and everyone in the waiting room shook my hand and said ‘we believe in you.’ I realized that people back home wanted me to fight for myself and fight for what I’ve been working on my entire life, which was public service to make our province and our community and our country stronger.
Back home they gave me the strength to carry on in this project and that’s what I started today. I filed my papers to be a candidate in our leadership. I’m going to make sure that with the support of our party faithful we’re going to get back on track to this important project of defeating Kathleen Wynne on June 7.
The support we’ve been getting across the province has just been so encouraging. The amount of candidates, the amount of party volunteers, riding presidents who have reached out — frankly it changed my opinion. This is not what I was thinking about. The support of the party membership has really inspired me.
I think my name has been cleared and now it’s about getting Ontario back on track.
I think every other leadership candidate I know, certainly the main ones, have been calling every day trying to reach out for my support. I think the reason they have is they know that frankly there is a groundswell of support in the membership for the project I have been working on to get this province back on track.
I’m running for the leadership.”