Patrick Brown cleared to run for Ontario PC leadership

Patrick Brown has been cleared to run for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, a job he previously held, the party revealed Wednesday afternoon.

The news was confirmed by Hartley Lefton, chair of the PC Party’s leadership committee, on Twitter.

Brown was interviewed Tuesday night by the committee, which wields the power to reject a leadership candidate on any grounds it sees fit. While there isn’t a formal process, vetting usually includes looks at a potential candidate’s employment and legal history, as well as their social media footprint, among other considerations.

Initially, it was unclear whether a complaint filed with the province’s integrity commissioner earlier in the day would affect the committee’s decision.

The four other candidates vying for PC leadership are Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Tanya Granic Allen.

Mulroney, who is a candidate in the York–Simcoe riding, was the only contender who had already been successfully vetted by the leadership committee last year. The other rivals were interviewed Tuesday and all received the green light.

“Now is the time for our party to move forward,” Elliott said in a statement Wednesday following the committee’s announcement.

The PCs will vote for their next leader between March 2 and March 8, with results to be announced on March 10.

Brown, the 39-year-old MPP who currently represents Simcoe North in the legislature, has endured a tumultuous year so far. He was forced to resign his leadership post late last month after he lost support from most of caucus and key staff members following allegations of sexual misconduct by two women.