Ontario’s Progressive Conservative caucus is meeting to choose an interim leader following Patrick Brown’s resignation in the face of sexual misconduct allegations.
Brown stepped down as Ontario PC leader early Thursday after emphatically denying what he called “troubling allegations” about his conduct and his character.
The allegations, which have not been independently verified by The Canadian Press, were made by two women who spoke to CTV News.
The party’s deputy leaders haven’t said if the interim leader picked Friday will lead them in the scheduled June provincial election or if a leadership race will be held before then.
But at least one caucus member said the party would do better to select someone who can carry them through the campaign.
“We’re 133 days from the election, we have a lot of very, very capable people in this caucus that have been through these wars before and they know what to expect and I think, while there are those out there who may be ready for a leadership race, this isn’t the right time for that,” PC legislator Todd Smith said.
“This is the time for an election race — make no mistake, we’re in an election campaign right now.”
Asked whether a review would be held after the election, Smith said that would likely depend on the outcome.
“If we elect somebody today to lead our party and that individual goes on to win the election, then that person’s going to be the premier of Ontario,” he said.
Another caucus member, Gila Martow, said that no matter what approach the party takes, it must get back on track fast.
“I’ve been hearing nonstop from people that they want us to move quickly, get things in order and carry on what we’ve been doing,” she said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged the upheaval surrounding Brown’s resignation but said she would not call a snap election.