Former PC leader Patrick Brown not running in Ontario election
Brown stepped down in January amid sexual misconduct allegations he denies
Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown won't be allowed to run in the riding he was nominated in for the June 7 provincial election, the nominations committee said late Thursday.
The committee said in a statement that it had reached a "unanimous decision" forbidding Brown to run in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte riding.
For his part, on Thursday night, Brown tweeted that "after much thought," he has decided he won't run in the election, causing confusion over how the decision was ultimately made and why.
"I remain committed to the Conservative movement and to the well-being of my local community," Brown said in his tweet.
"I am confident that Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte will have a PC party candidate that will hit the ground running and work hard on behalf of our constituents. Thank you to the people of Barrie and Simcoe County for your unwavering support over the last 17 years."
Brown stepped down as leader in January amid sexual misconduct allegations, which he vehemently denies.
He then briefly tried to reclaim his old job, but bowed out of the race last month, saying his bid was taking a toll on family and friends.
After a turbulent party convention last Saturday, the Conservatives picked former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford as their new leader.
'He's made a decision to move on'
Scott Macpherson, vice-president of the PC's riding association in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, said that while some believe the allegations against Brown are toxic to the party, many in the riding are disappointed by the decision.
"I'm personally sad for him. My wish was for him to be on the ballot," Macpherson said. "He's made a decision to move on with his life, a life outside of politics, and I'm sure he's going to have a very bright, successful future just as he's had a bright, successful past."
Decisions also made about ridings
Though he did not mention Brown by name, Ford said in a statement he said he was happy to learn about the committee's decision.
"I am pleased to learn of the decisions made by the Provincial Nominations Committee. As Leader, I am fully focused on the June election and taking the fight to Kathleen Wynne," Ford said in a statement.
"Together we will ensure that we are in the best position possible to defeat the Wynne Liberals and form a majority government."
The committee also agreed to reopen nominations in the Brampton North, Mississauga Centre and Newmarket–Aurora ridings, and to "set aside the nomination" in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas "as a result of the flawed process," party president Jag Badwal said in a statement.
Police are investigating the Hamilton-area nomination amid allegations of vote-stuffing. The Conservatives have been dogged by controversial nomination battles in ridings across the province.
Ontario voters go to the polls on June 7.
With files from CBC News, Matt Llewellyn