Patrick Brown is a man on a mission to be the one-man wrecking crew of the PC Party of Ontario. Despite denying on Twitter the reports last Thursday that he was planning an eleventh-hour entrance into the PC leadership race (“I am solely focused on clearing my name, not technicalities.”) by mid-afternoon on Friday Brown shocked the political world by showing up at PC headquarters to register as a leadership candidate to replace himself.
Throughout last week, Brown’s PR team (communications experts, lawyers, private investigators and friends) unleashed a week-long barrage of attacks on his accusers and CTV journalists through repeated stories in the press and social media questioning the reporting and the credibility of the accusers’. In a CANADALAND piece, “Untangling The Reporting On Patrick Brown”, I was able to show that most of the new sources pushing back on the CTV initial report are actually closely connected to Brown in some way (two of the anonymous sources I suspect are friends of Browns as well, but I wasn’t able to definitively confirm their identities because individuals ignored my calls and emails). Furthermore, the CANADALAND report revealed that the relationships between CTV journalists and the accusers doesn’t necessarily negate the veracity of CTV’s reporting because this story was heavily vetted by lawyers and had editorial oversight from award-winning investigative journalist Glen McGregor. Finally, CTV confirmed to me that there was at least one more Brown accuser not used in its report because of her open support for the Ontario Liberal Party. With all of these factors weighed, it would appear that Brown has not yet cleared his name.
Yet, after Brown’s associates cast doubt on the journalists and accusers, Brown capped off the week by submitting the results of his polygraph test (lie detector test are hardly foolproof) to the Sun showing he was being truthful when denying the claims made by his accusers. By the time he was swarmed by reporters later that day he had changed his tune: “My name has been cleared.”
This is wishful thinking and maniacal vanity on Brown’s part. Although we may never know the true veracity of the claims against him, and he has every right to defend himself from accusations, for Brown to think he can do that while running to be leader of the PCs once again is incredibly selfish, especially coming from someone saying he wants to do what’s best for the party. It’s also foolhardy because Brown appears to have other skeletons in his closet that are now being brought out by his adversaries within the party.
Beyond PC Interim Leader Vic Fedeli claiming the party has found “rot” within the party in regards to financial impropriety, fraudulent membership sign-ups, and rigged nomination meetings, the Globe and Mail also dropped a bombshell report that shows Brown at least was in talks, in an affidavit no less, to strike a deal that looks very much like it would’ve been a quid pro quo between him and a friend in which he would be given $375,000 to for Aeroplan miles and his share of ownership in a Barrie restaurant. Although being contacted by the Globe, Brown and his friend didn’t provide journalists with the apparent follow-up affidavit that appears to show the deal never ended up taking place.
If this wasn’t bad enough to make Brown finally concede defeat, PC MPP Randy Hillier’s 20-minute tirade against Brown after Question Period today, saying he’s “a liar,” and was filing a complaint against Brown to the Ethics Commissioner.
Then there is the caveat whether or not Brown will be given the green light from the PCs’ Provincial Nominations Committee later this evening. The PNC, I’ve learned, has been given a copy of the original affidavit that shows Brown was planning to collect $375,000 in exchange for his Aeroplan miles (worth an estimated $24,000) and his share in a restaurant. Brown would receive a bank deposit of $375,000 a month later that he claims his family gave him to help him put a downpayment on a house.
Whether or not Brown is cleared to run, the relentless attacks and new revelations against him do not look to abate any time soon, suggesting his time in the race to replace himself might be very short-lived.