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

Fort Langley’s boarded up buildings ‘filthy, unsightly,’ says health inspector

Eric Woodward says buildings will remain boarded up, following letter from Fraser Health

The Circus is coming to Aldergrove

Great Benjamins Circus is coming to thrill fans of high-wire derring-do in Aldergrove in May

VIDEO: Family asks for help finding remains of Surrey man missing for 10 years

Police suspect foul play in Kellen McElwee’s disappearance a decade ago

SLIDESHOW: Titans take down Griffins

Photos of Langley Fundamental Titans senior girls soccer team 4-0 victory over North Delta’s Burnsview Griffins

Game not over for Langley teen just yet

Standout basketball player James Woods weighing his options on both sides of the border

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read