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

More seniors in Terrace area struggling to afford food

The number of adults who used the Terrace Churches Food Bank jumped by 70 per cent from last year.

Terrace Peewees win provincials

The Midgets won bronze and Bantams finished fifth, with the female Midgets still playing

Bigger and safer bridge to be built across the Nass

New two lane bridge will accomodate heavier commercial vehicles

B.C. NDP offers tax breaks to jumpstart LNG Canada in Kitimat

‘We’re not giving away more money,’ Premier John Horgan says

UPDATE: Snowfall warning ended for Hwy 16 – Smithers to Terrace

Cloudy, warmer rain showers are expected to change to snow after midnight.

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Walking from Argentina to Alaska

Holly ‘Cargo’ Harrison is now in northern B.C. on his journey from Argentina to Alaska.

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

Fatal crash closes Highway 97 south of Prince George

A two-vehicle crash in the Cariboo has claimed the life of one person and sent another to hospital.

Most Read