Windsor PC candidates show 'full support' for Patrick Brown leadership bid
Published Monday, February 19, 2018 8:38PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 20, 2018 12:24PM EST
It's been a roller-coaster couple of weeks for former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown.
Despite his ouster from the party and caucus he once led, Brown is in the unique position of running a leadership campaign to fill a role he vacated less than a month ago.
And Windsor-area PC candidates are standing by him.
"I stand with Patrick Brown and I give him my full support to be the next leader and premier of Ontario," said Adam Ibrahim, the PC candidate for Windsor West.
And he’s not alone. Ibrahim was joined by dozens of other candidates, sitting PC members of provincial parliament and even a conservative MP at a leadership rally in Mississauga over the weekend, all stumping for Patrick Brown.
"I'm here to finish the job we started together," Brown remarked to the crowd.
The former party leader took a three-week hiatus to fight allegations of sexual misconduct. He's taken a lie-detector test to help prove his innocence -- one he says he passed with ease.
"My sole focus over the last three weeks was to clear my name, and I'm grateful that's been accomplished," Brown said.
Brown officially threw his hat into the ring on Friday to run against a slate of candidates for leadership of the Ontario PCs, which includes Christine Elliott, Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney and Tanya Granic Allen.
"He's proven that his name is cleared,” said Ibrahim, who was also a senior advisor to Brown during his previous leadership run. “He has full right to enter this race, and we are excited to see him carry this on."
University of Windsor political scientist Lydia Miljan isn’t so sure.
"Sometimes you think, just go away Patrick Brown,” Miljan said. “Because he is making things worse, he's harming then in the short-term. But in the long term, I think they will do very well, if they don't have Patrick Brown."
A recent Forum Research poll supports that theory. If an election were held today, the PCs still would dominate at the ballot box, with 49 per cent of the vote.
"These huge dumpster fires happening within the party, Ontarians are so fed up with the Liberals, they're saying we'd rather pick the dumpster fire over the Kathleen Wynne Liberals," Miljan said.
But when supporters were asked who they would like to lead the party, Christine Elliott scooped up 22 per cent of voters, with Brown garnering 13 per cent support.
The highest number of respondents, about one in three, said they weren't sure who they would pick.
And that’s why Patrick Brown is now in full campaign mode. He’s planning a visit to Windsor Feb. 24 to help open Windsor-Tecumseh candidate Mohammad Latif's campaign office. He will also spend time promoting the people's guarantee, the platform the party developed under his leadership.
"He's come up with that, he's the only one ready to implement that platform," Ibrahim said.