For­mer On­tario PC leader Brown says he is tar­get of ‘fab­ri­cated po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tion’

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN HOWLETT TORONTO

Pa­trick Brown has ac­cused CTV News of fab­ri­cat­ing a “ma­li­cious and false re­port” against him, the lat­est vol­ley in a cam­paign he is wag­ing on so­cial me­dia and in se­lect in­ter­views to clear his name.

“You lied. You de­famed me,” Mr. Brown said in a Face­book post on Wed­nes­day. “I will not al­low your brand of trashy jour­nal­ism to hurt an­other per­son in this coun­try.”

Mr. Brown also told Global News on Wed­nes­day he has been sub­jected to a “fab­ri­cated po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tion.”

It was his first tele­vi­sion interview since he was forced to re­sign as leader of the On­tario Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives on Jan. 25 after CTV aired al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct with two young women. CTV said it stands by its re­port­ing. Mr. Brown has not re­sponded to an interview re­quest from The Globe and Mail.

The stakes are enor­mous for the 39-year-old ca­reer politi­cian. Mr. Brown be­came leader of the On­tario PC Party in 2015. Be­fore then, he was a fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive MP and city coun­cil­lor in his home town of Bar­rie, Ont.

He is fight­ing to stay on as an MPP. In­terim Leader Vic Fedeli has called on him to re­sign his seat in the provin­cial leg­is­la­ture.

Among the three peo­ple run­ning to suc­ceed Mr. Brown, Chris­tine El­liott is the only one who has pub­licly said she would sign his nom­i­na­tion pa­pers for the June 7 provin­cial elec­tion if he can clear his name.

Mr. Brown joins a grow­ing list of high-profile men who have been forced to re­sign by the #Me­Too move­ment, which be­gan last fall with al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against Hollywood pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein.

The move­ment has given voice to many women who have said ques­tion­able be­hav­iour in male­dom­i­nated bas­tions in pol­i­tics, busi­ness and en­ter­tain­ment was cov­ered up or ig­nored for decades. But Mr. Brown is one of the few to fight back. He chal­lenged the two women CTV in­ter­viewed to take their com­plaints to the po­lice.

“These types of al­le­ga­tions should be dealt with in a proper and fair fo­rum,” Mr. Brown said on Face­book, and pro­vided the phone num­ber for the Bar­rie Po­lice Ser­vice.

David Butt, a Toronto lawyer who rep­re­sents one of Mr. Brown’s ac­cusers, said the for­mer PC leader de­stroys the cred­i­bil­ity of his “self-pro­claimed sup­port” for women who have suf­fered sex­ual mis­treat­ment by “vic­timsham­ing” and dar­ing his client to go to the po­lice.

“No one with a con­tem­po­rary un­der­stand­ing of the dy­nam­ics of sex­ual vic­tim­iza­tion and its af­ter­math would be so in­sen­si­tive and pa­tri­ar­chal as to try to dic­tate to a sur­vivor what her heal­ing path should be, much less goad her,” Mr. Butt said.

The in­ci­dents de­scribed by CTV News are al­leged to have taken place when Mr. Brown was an MP in Ot­tawa. CTV will con­tinue to re­port on the story and will not be de­terred by Mr. Brown’s “ground­less al­le­ga­tions,” Matthew Gar­row, the sta­tion’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said in a state­ment.

“His at­tacks on our jour­nal­is­tic prac­tices are ground­less and wrong,” Mr. Gar­row said. “CTV News con­tin­ues to ask Pa­trick Brown if he thinks the two women ac­cus­ing him of sex­ual mis­con­duct are ly­ing. He has yet to re­spond.”

Mr. Brown took to Face­book on Wed­nes­day – for the sec­ond time since last Sun­day – after CTV News re­ported on Tues­day night that one of the women says she was not un­der the le­gal drink­ing age or in high school dur­ing one of the al­leged in­ci­dents, as orig­i­nally re­ported.

How­ever, the woman said in a state­ment re­leased by Mr. Butt, her lawyer, that she stands by her al­le­ga­tions about Mr. Brown’s con­duct, say­ing “col­lat­eral details” from an in­ci­dent many years ago are not im­por­tant.

CTV News had ini­tially re­ported that the woman met Mr. Brown at a lo­cal bar in Bar­rie with a mu­tual friend. She said he in­vited her to his home and pro­vided them with al­co­hol. Dur­ing a tour of his home, she al­leged, he stopped in his sec­ond-floor bed­room with her and then ex­posed him­self and asked her to per­form oral sex on him. She did briefly and then left.

Mr. Brown said on Face­book on Sun­day that he can prove the al­le­ga­tions are false: At the time of the al­leged in­ci­dent, he said, he lived in a ground floor, open-con­cept apart­ment.

The woman said in the state­ment re­leased by her lawyer that she told CTV about her ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause she wanted to help other women feel safe in com­ing for­ward. But she said do­ing so has ex­posed her to abuse on so­cial me­dia, after some­one revealed her iden­tity.

“The com­ments made about me on so­cial me­dia were de­mean­ing, vic­tim-blam­ing and wom­an­hat­ing,” she said. “My pri­vacy was in­vaded, my char­ac­ter was as­sas­si­nated, and I was sub­jected to gratuitous slurs about my pri­vate life and re­la­tion­ships.”

Mr. Brown told Global TV he is the one who was harmed. “I can’t tell you how dif­fi­cult the emo­tional toll has been on my­self, on my fam­ily, on my friends, to be ma­ligned on na­tional tele­vi­sion by ab­so­lute lies,” he said.

The sec­ond al­le­ga­tion claimed Mr. Brown kissed a univer­sity stu­dent, who was work­ing for him, in his bed­room dur­ing a party and climbed on top of her. The woman told The Globe on Wed­nes­day that she stands by her story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.