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'No confidence' in Patrick Brown as PC candidate: Fedeli

Last Updated Feb 20, 2018 at 11:47 am EST

MPP Vic Fedeli speaks at a news conference at Queen's Park after being named interim leader of the Ontario PC Party on Jan. 26, 2018. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

The rift between Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party factions continued to widen today as interim leader Vic Fedeli said he had informed the executive of his lack of confidence in Patrick Brown hours before the ousted politician launched a bid to reclaim his job.

Brown, who was forced to step down as party leader last month amid sexual misconduct allegations, joined the leadership contest on Friday, after he was kicked out of the party caucus.

The 39-year-old Barrie, Ont., politician, who is running for re-election in the riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, has said he helped grow the party to unprecedented levels since becoming leader in 2015, so he should be the one to lead it through the spring election.

Fedeli says now that Brown is in the leadership race, he will no longer comment on him, or any of the other candidates, who include Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney, former Toronto councillor Doug Ford, former Tory legislator Christine Elliott and social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen.

Fedeli’s comments come as Ontario’s legislature begins its spring session ahead of the June 7 election.

Brown, who is also facing allegations of corruption from his own party, is not expected to attend the legislature’s opening session today.