The Ontario PC Party is without a leader after the abrupt resignation of Patrick Brown late last night amid allegations of sexual misconduct with two different women.
Brown denies the allegations, but many party members say his alleged mistreatment of women was an open secret.
But Brown’s sexual misconduct was not his only problem. He also had broken many of the conservative promises he made when running for the leadership of the Ontario PC Party. Brown had campaigned as a fiscally responsible and even socially conservative candidate, and he had governed as the complete opposite. Brown flip-flopped when he endorsed the implementation of a carbon tax; he shocked party members with his support for the controversial federal motion M103, and he upset many with his disregard for other grassroots policies.
Brown’s tenure was also plagued with allegations of corruption. Many riding associations were furious with their local candidate nominations. Police and lawyers have been involved in multiple investigations surrounding nominations, causing many members of their respective associations to support Brown’s resignation for those reasons alone.
The Ontario PC Party needs to move on from Brown, and quickly. But a leadership election might not be the best solution.
Under the Ontario PC Party constitution, a leadership election is conducted through the “one member, one vote” mantra. The logistics for executing that process are considerable and would be difficult and costly to implement in such a small time frame. Especially when current party president Rick Dykstra has faced similar allegations as Brown, and could be the next person to be forced out. That would cause 1st Vice President, Jag Badwal to be the new party president.
And holding a leadership campaign could allow the mainstream media to continue to focus on Brown, rather than move on.
Alternatively, the caucus could appoint a new interim leader and ratify that person as the actual leader. Although caucus can appoint anyone to the interim position, it is most likely that they would appoint a fellow caucus MPP. Nipissing MPP, Vic Fedeli could be a front-runner for such a position.
With the Ontario provincial election looming, the Ontario PC Party needs to act fast if they want a shot at winning.