TORONTO: Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has been removed from the party’s caucus just days before the legislature is set to resume.
Interim leader Vic Fedeli, who announced the decision in a statement Friday, had previously asked Brown to take a leave from caucus as he dealt with allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Earlier today, Mr. Brown was notified that he has been removed from the PC Caucus effective immediately. The same procedure was followed when Mr. Brown removed Jack MacLaren from the PC caucus,” Fedeli said.
MacLaren was kicked out of the caucus last year after a video from 2012 emerged showing him hinting at a hidden agenda and making negative comments about French language rights.
Brown resigned as Tory leader late last month amid the allegations reported by CTV News that he categorically denies.
But questions remained about his role in the party and whether he would sit as a Progressive Conservative when the legislative session begins on Tuesday.
Fedeli has previously said he would not sign Brown’s nomination papers as a candidate if the allegations against him still stood at the time of the spring provincial election.
Brown has launched a campaign to clear his name on social media and in interviews in recent days, alleging the two women who brought the allegations to CTV News were lying.
He has also vowed to sue the network, which said it stands by its reporting. The Canadian Press has not independently confirmed the allegations.
Brown’s abrupt resignation in late January sent the party into turmoil and triggered a leadership race to choose his successor.
So far, four people _ former Tory legislator Christine Elliott, Toronto lawyer and businesswoman Caroline Mulroney, former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford and social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen _ have thrown their hats in the ring, with only hours to go until the deadline to register as a candidate.
Those seeking to run for the leadership have until 5 p.m. Friday to file their paperwork and submit $100,000 in fees and deposits, while those who want to vote for the next leader have until midnight to sign up as party members.
The vote is set to take place in early March and the results will be announced on March 10.