Sexual Misconduct Rocks Canada’s political scene
By Megan Beauchamp
Following damning sexual allegations, Ontario’s Opposition leader, Patrick Brown, resigned months before a pivotal election in the populous province. According to The Mercury News, two women came forward to CTV News accusing the politician of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers.
Brown did not didn’t readily come to the judgement to resign immediately. It was only after members of his campaign team quit, and he consulted with family and caucus members, that he officially make the decision, CTV News reports.
In fact, his campaign manager, chief of staff, and deputy campaign manager issued a joint statement, according to The Mercury News. They said, “After speaking with him, our advice was that he should resign as PC party leader. He did not accept that advice. Since our view is that this advice was in the best interest of the PC party, we have therefore resigned.”
One of the unnamed women, claims she was in high school when Brown propositioned her to perform sexual acts on him. She claims that he asked her to perform oral sex on him, while the other woman, also unnamed, alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Brown in 2013, when she was a student working in his office. This occurred followed an event that she helped plan, reports Mercury News.
By this time, Brown was already an established politician.
He plans on seeing his reputation reversed however, saying in a statement “I will remain on as a MPP while I definitively clear my name from these false allegations,” according to the New York Times. Not only is Brown seeking the clearance of his name, but he has flatly denied all of the allegations against him, saying they are false.
The Huffington Post reports that party president, Jag Badwal, announced that Brown’s replacement is set to be chosen on March 10. After Brown’s leave, a special committee spent days drafting up the rules and definitive deadlines for the race as well as, and the expenses of entering it.
Following the posting of the conditions for Ontario’s leadership position, candidates came out to declare their intentions on running, including Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliot, and Doug Ford.
The resignation of Brown, effectively shook up the party months before an election. However, he is not the only politician to resign due to sexual assault. Shortly after the sexual allegations against Brown were reported, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau accepted the resignation of sports minister, Kent Hehr.
The New York Times reported that as a result of the allegations that surfaced on social media, there is now a probe into the accusations, pending results. Posts on Twitter allege that Hehr made suggestive remarks, and that his behavior made women fearful about simple things, such as sharing an elevator.
“I have been informed that an investigation into these allegations has begun,” said Hehr in a statement. “I welcome and respect this process.”
Trudeau took a strong stance on the situation, saying briefly at the opening of a meeting of Liberal MPs that sexual harassment is a “systemic problem,” and that women will always be defended.