Ontario's Progressive Conservatives to pick interim leader on Friday

The leader of Ontario's conservative opposition party reversed course and resigned Thursday amid allegations of sexual misconduct with two teenagers that surfaced just months before an election in Canada's most populous province.

"He deserves his day in court, but no person can lead a political party in this province with allegations like these hanging over his head".

University of Windsor political science professor Cheryl Collier called it unprecedented and suggested the swift response was likely fuelled in part by a growing emphasis on addressing sexual misconduct claims voiced by women.

When Patrick Brown woke up on Wednesday morning, he was the leader of a party with a lead in the polls and what appeared to be a healthy chance at toppling Kathleen Wynne and a 15-year run of Ontario Liberal governments.

"As a father to two young daughters, these horrific allegations cut me to my core", Skinner said in a statement. "I'm very pleased about that". Brown has not been charged with a crime and none is on the horizon, but the women's accounts raise hard questions about his judgment and character.

Brown launched his campaign platform in November, trying to position the PCs as a centrist party, ready to end 14 years of Liberal reign in Ontario but pledging not to reverse most of the Wynne government's key programs.

"I hope this doesn't put Barrie in a bad light", she said.

"So it's an opportunity for someone to come in and say, 'You know we're actually not about just one man, we're not about one leader, we're not about these allegations, we are a party organization'". He said it was obviously a big shock and not something he, the party, Brown or the women making the allegations, want to go through.

"I think a lot of female politicians and female staffers as well experience some sort of sexual misconduct", she said.

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Stay tuned on TV and online for more updates this evening and into tomorrow, and feel free to send us your pictures and reports. Scattered snow showers and squalls, combined with gusty winds, will cause blowing and drifting snow into the evening.

Brown said he has instructed his lawyers to ensure that the allegations are addressed in court.

Milks, who polled 20.5 per cent of the vote in 2014 compared with Clark's 56 per cent, doubted that the Brown affair would have much effect locally. "I am pleased that Patrick Brown has done the right thing and resigned".

There was certainly no way Brown could've survived this, but we should resist the urge to see this particular incident as Brown's own patented PC-screw-up moment. "It is a team game, and the leader plays a very critical role, but it is no different than a hockey team in that you need to have all the players moving in the right direction as a unified team to make sure all the cylinders are running properly".

Local residents interviewed at the 1000 Islands Mall on Wednesday were an example of the rock-ribbed Tory sentiments in the riding.

Willem Bouma, the PC candidate in Brantford-Brant, said he was surprised to hear of Brown's resignation.

"To me, it's most important that we listen to people from Brantford-Brant and find out what their needs are and what they're looking for in an MPP", he said.

Al Merkley's comments were typical.

Pettapiece echoed that sentiment, stating, "As MPP, my top priority will continue to be the people I am privileged to represent".

Who sets the leadership election rules? "The key strategic objective is to get the focus off them and back onto Kathleen Wynne as soon as possible".


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