By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The allegations of sexual misconduct and the subsequent stepping down of Patrick Brown as leader of the Progressive Conservative party has sent ripples throughout the political landscape, including here in Durham Region.
The allegations against Brown came from two women and were made public in a CTV report last week. The women allege the incidents took place a decade ago when they were teens and Brown was the Conservative MP for Barrie.
Brown has denied all of the allegations and they have not been tested in court.
Following the story, Brown has since stepped down from the leadership role, replaced on an interim basis by Vic Fedeli.
For Lorne Coe, Conservative MPP for Whitby-Oshawa, Brown stepping down from the leadership was the right thing to do.
“Like everyone, I was shocked to learn of these serious allegations. Harassment has no place in our society, period. Allegations of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. These voices deserve to be heard,” Coe said in a written statement to The Oshawa Express. “It was appropriate that Patrick Brown resigned as Ontario Progressive Conservative leader.”
Coe also placed faith in Fedeli, the interim leader.
“We must ensure our workplaces are safe and that everyone feels comfortable coming forward to share their stories. Vic Fedeli, the Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will soon take further steps to ensure this is the case in our workplace.”
The same sentiment was shared by Bob Chapman, the candidate nominated to run for the PCs in the Oshawa riding in the upcoming election this June. Chapman said that he was “disturbed” by the news.
“The women who came forward with these allegations must be heard and supported in a respectful environment. Each one of us must state clearly that such behaviour is highly inappropriate and unacceptable,” he said. “Elected leaders at every level of government have a responsibility to set an example and maintain a higher standard. Our party is larger than just one individual and I believe we have much to offer the people of Ontario.”
Since the allegations against Brown have come out, the president of the PC party Rick Dykstra, has also resigned amid a similar scandal of sexual misconduct allegations.
A date has yet to be set for when the PCs will vote for their new leader as many names are already being floated for Brown’s replacement. In an announcement on Jan. 29, Doug Ford, former Toronto councillor, put his name forward in the race to become leader.