The former Ontario Conservative Party leader who resigned his position after two women accused him of sexual misconduct is suing CTV News for running a story on the allegations.
Patrick Brown sent a notice of libel late Friday night.
Brown stepped down as provincial opposition leader just hours after the Canadian media outlet ran its exclusive story. But as a conference call recording released Saturday reveals, Brown was virtually forced by his party caucus to resign just before midnight on Jan. 24 after CTV News ran a story about two young women who alleged inappropriate sexual conduct by Brown. Brown denied the accusations but said he was resigning for the good of the party.
In the weeks since that forced decision, Brown has become increasingly combative in his defense as one of the still unidentified women changed her story and admitted she had falsely claimed to be under 19 and still in high school in her testimony to CTV News.
Brown has even entered the Progressive Conservative leadership race that was established to replace him as leader, in time for a Spring election. But his vocal party opponents, led by Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Randy Hillier, have said Brown is “unfit” to lead because of questions about his personal finances and his involvement in securing party nominations for his favored candidates.
Hillier filed a formal complaint with Ontario’s integrity commissioner on Tuesday, saying, “On the weekend, I put out a statement in which I declared Mr. Brown to be unfit to be leader, unfit to be in the PC caucus, and unfit to be premier. This statement was incomplete. He is also unfit to serve in the legislature.”
In the libel notice, Brown accused CTV of producing “false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory” reporting both on its television network and website. The document names CTV president Wendy Freeman, CTV anchor Lisa Laflamme, reporters Glen McGregor, Rachel Aiello, and Travis Dhanraj.
Even though Brown is running to replace himself as leader of the party, the interim party leader Vic Fedeli removed Brown from the Conservative caucus a week ago, so he is running for the job as an independent member of the provincial legislature against four other candidates.