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

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read