Patrick Brown admitted in a television interview that members of his staff drafted and released his resignation letter without his permission, throwing its validity into question ahead of a crucial leadership vote and a looming provincial election.
“The resignation was actually sent out on my behalf without my permission at the time,” Brown told Global News. “I understood that they were drafting a copy of the resignation. I was shocked when I found out that it was sent out without even an opportunity to see it.”
Brown hasn’t said he would re-seek the Party leadership or challenge the results of the leadership race. But sources close to Brown tell CityNews that they believe the leadership race is invalid.
The sources also said that if the PC party goes ahead with the vote on March 10 it could be met with a legal challenge, and that Brown is being encouraged to take his seat in the chair of leader of the Opposition when the legislature resumes on Feb. 20.
“It is his rightful and lawful seat,” one of the sources said. “This is an assault on our democracy. We can basically go into an election without a leader in June if the party pushes back.”
Despite those reports, Brown tweeted on Thursday that his sole focus is on “clearing my name, not technicalities.”
But according to political consultant and strategist John Mykytyshyn, Brown could indeed still technically be the leader according to the Party constitution.
“According to the rules and the constitution, if he did not resign, if he did not himself say ‘yes’ and sign off on that, then he’s still the leader today,” Mykytyshyn said. “Somebody sent out a release with a quote from him saying he had resigned, and clearly that’s not true, didn’t happen.”
Mykytyshyn said the PC party is in “uncharted waters” and must provide clarity moving forward.
“There’s been a lot of talk about what happened to Patrick and was it an inside job or not, well if you’re looking for evidence of an inside job, I think a good place to start is a resignation statement that he never authorized,” he added.
Brown’s resignation was posted on the PC party website hours after CTV’s report in late January in which two women made sexual misconduct allegations that date back to the politician’s time as a federal MP.
Brown has vehemently denied the allegations, which have not been independently verified, saying there are discrepancies in the women’s stories and has accused CTV of dishonest reporting.
On Thursday, Brown said he was suing CTV over the allegations of inaccurate reporting.
With files from The Canadian Press