Ford says Patrick Brown has the credibility of a “rock” amid furor over tell-all book
Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown, the bridge-burning tell-all memoir by Brampton’s new mayor, has stirred a Tory caucus hornet’s nest even before it officially hits bookstore shelves.
Former colleagues in Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, many of whom come in for a shellacking in the book, have hurled invective at the former party leader, who was ousted within hours of revelations of two sexual-misconduct allegations last January on the eve of the provincial election campaign.
Brown’s wrath with cabinet members such as Lisa MacLeod and Vic Fedeli, expressed in pull-no-punches style in the book, comes as no surprise to observers of the fraught insider politics of the party between Brown’s nomination to the leadership and this spring’s election. The most vocal reactions have come from these two, but there have been many others.
“Patrick Brown has as much credibility as a rock,” Premier Doug Ford, who succeeded Brown in the wake of the scandal, said in responding to the book during question period Thursday morning. He also took aim at Brown on Twitter, calling the book “a disgusting smear campaign.”
“Patrick Brown has as much credibility as a rock.”
Premier Doug Ford
“I would rather have the endorsement of Kathleen Wynne than Patrick Brown. The lies in this book are disgusting. To suggest that one of our Ministers would fake a mental illness is dangerous and cruel,” Ford wrote, in reference to scathing comments Brown made in the book about MacLeod, minister of children, community and social services.
Meanwhile, Brown’s allusions to sexual misconduct allegations against Finance Minister Vic Fedeli have prompted calls from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Brampton Centre MPP Sara Singh for an investigation. During question period, Singh called on Fedeli to step down until one can be carried out.
Sara Singh - MPP Brampton Centre
“The allegation isn’t just one of sexual misconduct, but that public money was used to ensure that this information didn't come to light,” Horwath said, repeatedly demanding to know whether the government would order an investigation. Fedeli has vigorously denied the allegations and joined other party veterans calling the book a political hit job. Ford told Horwath in question period that a third-party investigation of the allegations against Fedeli had already shown there “wasn’t a shred of evidence,” and continued to attack Brown’s credibility rather than accede to her call for an independent probe.
“These accusations from Patrick Brown are categorically false and without merit,” said a statement on Fedeli’s Twitter account. He added that “I have retained legal counsel and am prepared to take whatever action is necessary to hold any person making these false allegations accountable.”
Brown says he was given a handwritten letter by a female party staffer that accused Fedeli of inappropriate behaviour. Brown has not produced this letter.
“If a woman has made sexual misconduct allegations against Vic Fedeli, I assume that Doug Ford will be immediately ordering a fully independent investigation, and be removing Mr. Fedeli from cabinet while that investigation takes place. If there is any truth to allegations that the Conservative government is protecting Mr. Fedeli by buying the silence of his victim, Ford needs to come clean with the people of Ontario. Obviously, protecting a powerful man who has committed any sort of misconduct is wrong.”
Takedown will be unveiled to the press at Rotary Glen in Brampton tomorrow afternoon. But an advanced copy of the book was given to a select number of media agencies (including The Pointer) earlier this week.
MacLeod, whom Brown refers to in the book as hating and being “hated” by everyone, lashed out against him in a written statement pushed out to Twitter, in which she called his comments on her battle with mental health “disgusting and cruel.”
“He was not focused on supporting [h]is team or creating an atmosphere where staff and MPPs were respected,” she said. Her statement said that “the work environment at Queen’s Park, under this administration, is one that is supportive, inclusive and respectful.”
Brown claims in the book that MacLeod’s animus was the result of being “humiliated three years ago when I beat her in the leadership and by a country mile in her own riding. She was always a difficult person who had issues with everyone.”
He alleges that she and Fedeli — with whom there was also no love lost on Brown’s part — set in motion a series of events to oust Brown after CTV broke allegations of sexual misconduct against him in January.
“Rumour had it that MacLeod and Fedeli cut a deal. She would back him to take over as the permanent leader, and in return she would be finance critic,” he writes in Takedown.
Brown, who takes over the mayor’s chair in early December, is also suing CTV News for $8 million after it broadcast the allegations, which Brown vigorously denies in the book.
It’s been a seminal year for Brown who, after his ouster, moved into a new home in Brampton, married Genevieve Gualtieri, won a new job as mayor of Canada’s ninth largest city, and wrote the memoir.
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