Patrick Brown (politician)

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Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown 2.jpg
51st Mayor of Brampton
Elect
Assuming office
December 1, 2018
SucceedingLinda Jeffrey
36th Leader of the Opposition in Ontario
In office
September 14, 2015 – January 25, 2018
Preceded byJim Wilson
Succeeded byVic Fedeli
Leader of the
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
In office
May 9, 2015 – January 25, 2018
Preceded byTim Hudak
Jim Wilson (interim)
Succeeded byVic Fedeli (interim)
Doug Ford
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Simcoe North
In office
September 3, 2015 – June 7, 2018
Preceded byGarfield Dunlop
Succeeded byJill Dunlop
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Barrie
In office
January 23, 2006 – May 13, 2015
Preceded byAileen Carroll
Succeeded byRiding Abolished
Personal details
BornPatrick Walter Brown
(1978-05-26) May 26, 1978 (age 40)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyIndependent[1]
Other political
affiliations
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Conservative Party of Canada
Spouse(s)Genevieve Gualtieri (2018-present)[2]
RelationsJoe Tascona (uncle)
ResidenceBrampton, Ontario[3] [4]
EducationSt. Michael's College School
Alma mater
ProfessionLawyer

Patrick Walter Brown (born May 26, 1978) is a Canadian politician who is the Mayor of Brampton and former Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for the riding of Simcoe North. Brown was Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and Ontario's Leader of the Official Opposition from May 2015 to January 2018.

Brown's political career began when he served on the Barrie City Council in the early 2000s. From 2006 until 2015, Brown was a federal Conservative member of the House of Commons representing the riding of Barrie.

In May 2015, Brown was elected leader of the Ontario PC Party, and stepped down as a federal MP. He then won a provincial by-election on September 3, 2015, in Simcoe North and entered the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Brown resigned as party leader in January 2018 after allegations of sexual assault, was expelled from the party caucus by interim leader Vic Fedeli on February 16, 2018, and left provincial politics after an aborted second run for the PC leadership [5][6] Brown became the first permanent Ontario Conservative leader who did not lead the party into an election since George Frederick Marter.

Brown ran for mayor of Brampton and defeated incumbent Linda Jeffrey in the 2018 municipal election.[3][7]

Early life and career[edit]

Brown was born in Toronto of Irish and Italian descent, and raised in the Roman Catholic faith. His father, Edmond Brown, a criminal lawyer in Peel Region and former federal New Democratic Party candidate for the riding of Davenport in 1979 and 1980, was raised in England and Ireland before moving to Canada, and his mother, Judy (née Tascona) Brown, is of partial Italian descent, and an educator (teacher and principal) from Barrie.[8]

He graduated from St. Michael's College School, a private Catholic school in Toronto.[9] He studied political science at the University of Toronto, and graduated with a law degree from the University of Windsor. During his second year at law school, he was one of 10 recipients of the As Prime Minister Award. He worked for Magna International in their legal department for four years.[citation needed]

Brown served two terms as President of the Progressive Conservative Youth Federation (PCYF),[10] a position he held from 1998 to 2002. He also served on the executive of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, as a Vice President. As PCYF President, Brown was one of the early supporters of a united right and was criticized for his decision to support a united right from party leader Joe Clark and Member of Parliament Scott Brison. Brown was later re-elected as PCYF president with 81 percent of the vote against Jonathan Frate of Manitoba.

Brown was the Deputy Chairman of the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU).[when?] He has also represented Canada on a number of international assistance projects hosted by the IYDU.

Municipal politics[edit]

Brown was elected to the Barrie City Council in 2000 at age 22, and was re-elected in 2003.[10]

Brown served on various Committees, including the Budget Committee. Brown's primary focus while on council was health care, despite it being a provincial responsibility. In response to a shortage of doctors, Brown founded the Physician Recruitment Task Force with the Royal Victoria Hospital to help attract more doctors to Barrie.[11]

Federal politics[edit]

In the lead up to the 2004 federal election, Brown put his name forward as a candidate for the Conservative Party nomination race for the riding of Barrie. Brown defeated Rod Jackson and Douglas Edwards to win the party nomination in what Jackson considered a nasty race.[12] In the election, he lost to Liberal incumbent Aileen Carroll by 1,295 votes.[13] Brown ran again in 2006, this time defeating Carroll by 1,523 votes.[14] He was re-elected in the 2008 election by 15,295 votes over Liberal candidate Rick Jones.[15]

In November 2010, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation expressed concern about how Patrick Brown used his House of Commons of Canada account. He sent flyers to his riding which included a letter of support and a flyer from Barrie City Councillor Michael Prowse. Brown used his House of Commons account to pay for the mailing because Michael Prowse could not afford to send the flyer out himself.[16]

In the 2011 election, Brown was elected to his third term in office.[17] In 2012, it was reported that Brown had the highest publicly-funded expenditures on public service announcement flyers with $81,159.97.[18]

On September 28, 2014, he announced his intention to run in the 2015 Ontario party leadership election. He registered as a leadership candidate on November 20, 2014. He said that, unlike the other candidates, he was not involved in the four consecutive losses that have kept the Ontario PCs out of power since 2003.[19] At the time of his jump to provincial politics, he chaired the Conservative Party of Canada's Greater Toronto Area caucus and the Canada-India Parliamentary Association.[10]

Provincial politics[edit]

In September 2014, Brown announced his intention to run in the contest to replace PC Party Leader, Tim Hudak. From the outset of his campaign, Brown positioned himself as an outsider, challenging the leadership of the PC Party, which had been defeated in the last four provincial elections. In the most recent election campaign, in 2014, the party election platform included a commitment to cut 100,000 public service jobs over 4 years through attrition.[20] As the only one of the original five leadership candidates who was not a member of the Ontario legislature, Brown was not involved in the promise, which he considered ill-advised,[19][21][22] Brown's rivals attempted to use this same lack of previous involvement in provincial politics as an argument against his leadership bid.[23][24]

In March, Brown emerged as the front-runner in the leadership election, having sold over 40,000 of the 70,000 memberships in the party.[25][26][27][28] During the campaign, Brown was successful in bringing many new members to the party, many of whom came from ethnic communities.[29] The past four leadership contests had been won by those who sold the most memberships.[30]

Brown was endorsed by the Campaign Life Coalition and the Ontario Landowners Association.[31][32] During Brown's leadership bid both special interest groups actively supported him by selling Ontario PC Party memberships amongst their members.[33][34]

Brown was criticized by his main rival, Christine Elliott, for not resigning his federal seat during the leadership campaign.[35] Brown was absent from the House of Commons for some votes during the leadership campaign, attending 56% of the votes from September to December in 2014. However, his overall attendance for votes in 2014 was 83%.[36] A spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed that members are not expected to step down but are expected to "continue to fulfill their parliamentary responsibilities, including membership on committees and attendance at votes."[37]

The campaign started with five candidates including Vic Fedeli, Lisa MacLeod, and Monte McNaughton. All three withdrew in early 2015 citing membership recruitment or financial reasons.[citation needed]

Progressive Conservative leader (2015-2018)[edit]

On May 9, 2015, Brown was elected leader, defeating his only remaining opponent, Christine Elliott, winning with 61.8% of the membership vote.[38][39]

Brown, who resigned his seat in the House of Commons on May 13, 2015, days after winning the provincial leadership, led the Progressive Conservative party from outside the legislature during most of the summer.[40] On July 22, 2015, Garfield Dunlop agreed to step down as MPP for Simcoe North on August 1 in order to open up a seat for Brown. A provincial by-election, called for September 3, 2015, was won by Brown.[41][42][43]

Under his leadership, the Ontario PC Party won five by-elections, including two seats which had been previously held by the governing Liberals - Sault Ste. Marie and Scarborough-Rouge River.[44] Despite his record, Brown faced accusations of corruption and favouritism over hand picked candidates and unfair nomination contests.[45]

Sexual misconduct allegations and resignation[edit]

On January 24, 2018, Brown was accused by two women of engaging in sexual misconduct, which dated back to the time he was a federal MP. Brown denied the allegations and initially refused to step down. Four senior staff from Brown's campaign had advised him that he should resign as party leader; he did not accept their advice and consequentially the staff jointly resigned from his campaign team.[46] After pressure from within the party, he resigned as leader in the early hours of January 25.[47][48][49][50][51] A day later, fellow MPP, Lisa MacLeod revealed that she heard rumors about similar allegations from former National Hockey League player, Eric Lindros. Dimitri Soudas, former director of communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and volunteer for the campaign, suggested the allegations were baseless, saying, “All media organizations were turning over every single stone that they could find, and they couldn’t find anything.”[52] A Globe and Mail article revealed that Brown's staff had expressed similar concern with Brown's past relationships after he became leader. One of these was with Tamara Macgregor, a former staffer within Brown's office and daughter of Karma Macgregor, then former party candidate to Ottawa West—Nepean.[53]

The day after his resignation, he was succeeded on an interim basis by Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.[54] Fedeli, who was unanimously elected by caucus, asked Brown to take a leave of absence from Queen's Park while he defends himself against the allegations. He added that he would not sign Brown's nomination papers if he attempted to run in a Barrie riding at the June 7 provincial election.[55] Brown had intended on running in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte in that election, but Fedeli's announcement would mean that he would have to run as an independent.

Four of his former advisers: PC campaign chair Walied Soliman, ex-campaign manager Andrew Boddington, ad guru Dan Robertson, and strategist Hamish Marshall, the former director of controversial[56] website The Rebel Media and the Conservative Campaign Chair for the 43rd Federal Election threw their support towards Caroline Mulroney.[57]

In one incident, there was an allegation that Brown exposed himself to a teenager and asked her to engage in oral sex after plying her with alcohol. The accuser alleged that she was an 18-year-old high school student when the oral sex incident occurred but on February 13, 3 weeks after the first public report, she amended her claim to say she was a year older than she had previously recalled and was therefore over the legal drinking age.[58] In the other incident, Brown was alleged to have kissed, without consent, a female aide in his employ while in his bedroom.[59] Brown later took a lie detector test[60][61][62] and claimed[63] that he felt his name[64] was cleared.[65] No charges have been laid as a result of either alleged incident[66] and on April 23, 2018, he sued CTV for $8 million in damages.[67] He then entered the PC leadership race less than one[68] or two hours before the deadline.[65]

Expulsion from PC caucus and brief second run for the leadership[edit]

Brown was ejected from the PC caucus on February 16, 2018, following reports that he was claiming he hadn't actually resigned as party leader and a series of Facebook posts in which he attacked the credibility of his accusers.[1] Later that same day, Brown registered as a candidate for the Progressive Conservative leadership election, pending approval from the party,[5] and on February 21, after being vetted, Brown was given the "green light" by the PC Party to run for the leadership.[69]

Brown officially launched his second leadership campaign on February 18 with a rally in Mississauga.[70]

On February 20, PC MPP Randy Hillier filed complaints to Ontario's Integrity Commissioner alleging that Brown had breached the province's ethics rules around down payments over his 2016 bought $2.3 million waterfront house on Lake Simcoe, a loan from a friend and undeclared travels.[71] Currently it is on the market.[72] On April 28, 2018, a 60 page report by the Comissioner found out that Brown breached the Member's Integrity Act four times over matters involving his personal finances, but there was insufficient evidence to find him in breach over alleged travel violations.[73]

Brown withdrew his candidacy for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario on February 26, 2018, citing the difficulties of simultaneously running for leader while fighting against allegations against him. His withdrawal came days after the revelation that Integrity Commissioner was investigating Brown for alleged financial improprieties and several hours after a report revealing his apparent interference, while he was leader, in a Tory candidate nomination that is now being investigated by Hamilton police for fraud. Brown's supporters cited harassment against members of his family as one cause of his decision to withdraw.[74] Brown's $100,000 registration fee was not refunded by the party.[75]

After the election of Doug Ford as the new leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, there were rumors that Brown would not be allowed to run under their banner.[76]

Departure from provincial politics[edit]

The Progressive Conservative Party's nomination committee unanimously ruled on March 15, 2018 that Patrick Brown would not be eligible to run as a PC candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte for the June 7, 2018 election.[77] Brown announced on Twitter shortly afterward that he would not run as an independent candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.[6] Brown plans to release a book about the downfall of his political career from his perspective on November 1.[78]

Following his departure from provincial politics, Brown restarted his law practice and accepted a job as vice-president of a telecommunications company in Vaughan.[72]

Return to Municipal politics[edit]

According to reports by the National Post Brown was "urged" by supporters to run for Chair of the Regional Municipality of Peel in the 2018 Peel regional and municipal elections, the first in which the position is directly elected, although Brown himself initially declined to confirm to the Post if he would run or not.[79] Brown registered his candidacy for Peel Regional Chair on July 3, 2018.[80]

On July 27, 2018, Brown registered his candidacy for the Brampton mayoral election following Premier Doug Ford's announcement that regional chair elections in Peel Region would be cancelled.[3] Incumbent Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey suggested "that Brown jumped into the race, and city, at the last minute in a bid to 'rehabilitate' his career", while Brown suggested that Jeffrey's "lack of leadership has contributed to rising property taxes and shootings" in the city.[81]

Brown's platform includes a "poverty action plan" that would require a minimum percentage of new housing to meet affordable standards, and rental properties being redeveloped to include equal amounts of rental spots before and after the process.[82] His "Public Safety Initiative" would include more front line police officers, strengthening the mental health program, and affordable recreation for youth.[83]

Brown defeated incumbent Linda Jeffrey by a narrow margin in the Brampton mayorality race on October 22, 2018. In his acceptance speech, he thanked former Premier Bill Davis for his endorsement and said, "I’ve got so much hope in my heart for what’s ahead for Brampton. You know why? I know we can turn this around, I know Brampton is going to be back, Brampton is going to become an economic engine".[84] According to the Toronto Star, Jeffrey had the backing of "PC party operatives — Doug Ford’s campaign manager organized a fundraiser for her".[85]

Political views[edit]

Brown identifies himself as a "pragmatic conservative"[86] and after becoming leader he tried to move the Ontario PC Party in a socially liberal and fiscally conservative direction.[87] At his first Ontario PC Convention as the new leader, Brown confirmed his belief in man-made climate change and announced his support for a revenue-neutral price on carbon.[88] Brown was also the first Ontario PC leader to march in the Toronto Pride Parade.[89] Among his political mentors, Brown lists former Ontario Premier Bill Davis, former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.[90][91]

Much of Brown's time at Queen's Park was spent criticizing and debating the government's energy policies. He promised to dismantle the Green Energy Act, rein in executive salaries at Hydro One, and place a moratorium on the signing of new energy contracts.[92][92][93]

Patrick Brown's first Private Member's Bill in the Ontario Legislature was Bill 136, the Estate Administration Tax Abolition Act, which was an attempt to eliminate Ontario's estate administration (probate) tax (originally introduced by the PC government of Mike Harris in 1998).[94] The bill was supported by Brown's fellow PCs but opposed by the governing Liberals and third party New Democrats, and was voted down 51-24 on division at second reading.[95]

During his tenure as Ontario PC leader, Brown was noted for his close relationship with many of Ontario's diverse ethnic communities.[29] He spoke in the Legislature in support of a motion condemning Islamophobia,[96][97] and was one of the first Canadian politicians to refer to the Tamil Genocide.[98] Brown has a personal relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who refers to him as "Patrick Bhai" ("Brother Patrick") and named him an honorary citizen of Gujarat.[99][100]

His critics called him "policy-lite" since he made no policy statements during the Progressive Conservative leadership campaign.[101] After winning the leadership race, he focused his plan on four main issues which he suggested would lead to a more prosperous province: less red tape, improved transportation corridors, affordable energy, and addressing Ontario's growing skills gap.[102]

Brown's shift of the party to the political centre stood in contrast to his time in federal politics. As a federal MP, Brown had been one of the more socially conservative members of the Conservative caucus.[103][104][105] As an MP, Brown voted to re-open the same-sex marriage and abortion debates, and also voted against legalizing euthanasia and including gender expression in the Human Rights Act. He later said those votes were to represent his constituents.[106][107] Brown said that he didn't intend to revisit any of these issues in the provincial legislature.[108][109]

Personal life[edit]

Brown's wife,[110][2] Genevieve Gualtieri, is currently working with the SickKids Foundation. She is the niece of current Progressive Conservative MPP Rudy Cuzzetto who represents Mississauga—Lakeshore.[111] They lived in the Lorne Park neighbourhood of Mississauga,[79][72][112] but simultaneously had a lease in Brampton; they have since moved within the city.[113]

Brown is the nephew of Joe Tascona, a former Progressive Conservative MPP who represented Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford.[114]

Electoral record[edit]

Provincial[edit]

Ontario provincial by-election, September 3, 2015: Simcoe North
Resignation of Garfield Dunlop
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Progressive Conservative Patrick Brown 21,095 53.68 +9.74 $117,157.00
Liberal Fred Larsen 9,281 23.62 –8.90 $94,892.00
New Democratic Elizabeth Van Houtte 6,637 16.89 +1.34 $54,795.23
Green Valerie Powell 1,791 4.56 –3.43 $183.33
New Reform James Gault 200 0.51
People's Political Party Kevin Clarke 146 0.37
Libertarian Darren Roskam 104 0.26
Pauper John Turmel 47 0.12
Total valid votes 39,301 100.0
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 170 0.43
Turnout 39,471 40.71
Eligible voters 96,950
Progressive Conservative hold Swing +9.32
Source(s)
Elections Ontario (2015). "Official Returns from the Records, 086 Simcoe North" (PDF). Retrieved 17 November 2015.

Federal[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2011: Barrie
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Patrick Brown 32,121 56.69 +4.32 $94,892.28
New Democratic Myrna Clark 11,846 20.91 +8.90 $15,554.25
Liberal Colin Wilson 9,111 16.08 -7.80 $66,558.48
Green Erich Jacoby-Hawkins 3,271 5.77 -5.33 $31,306.84
Libertarian Darren Roskam 150 0.26 -0.23
Marxist–Leninist Christine Nugent 82 0.14 -0.02
Canadian Action Jeff Sakula 77 0.14
Total valid votes/Expense limit 56,651 100.00 $96,630.18
Total rejected ballots 174 0.31
Turnout 56,825 60.70
Conservative hold Swing -2.29
Source(s)
"Elections Canada Candidate Campaign Returns". Elections Canada Candidate Campaign Returns. Elections Canada.
Canadian federal election, 2008: Barrie
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Patrick Brown 27,927 52.37 +10.5 $91,512
Liberal Rick Jones 12,732 23.88 -15.3 $80,023
New Democratic Myrna Clark 6,403 12.01 -0.2 $16,038
Green Erich Jacoby-Hawkins 5,921 11.10 +4.3 $58,204
Libertarian Paolo Fabrizio 260 0.49 N/A $171
Marxist–Leninist Christine Anne Nugent 84 0.16 N/A $0
Total valid votes/Expense limit 53,327 100 $92,671
Canadian federal election, 2006: Barrie
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Patrick Brown 23,999 41.88 +1.8 $81,530
Liberal Aileen Carroll 22,476 39.18 -3.5 $69,313
New Democratic Peter Bursztyn 6,984 12.18 +1.5 $14,496
Green Erich Jacoby-Hawkins 3,874 6.76 +0.2 $19,036
Canadian federal election, 2004: Barrie
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Aileen Carroll 21,233 42.7
Conservative Patrick Brown 19,938 40.1
New Democratic Peter Bursztyn 5,312 10.7
Green Erich Jacoby-Hawkins 3,288 6.6

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Tasha Kheiriddin
President
Progressive Conservative Youth Federation

1998 – 2002
Succeeded by
Keith Marlowe