The Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race has narrowed to two after London MPP Monte McNaughton dropped out of the race on April 9.
Left standing in the race are deputy PC leader Christine Elliot and Barrie MPP Patrick Brown.
McNaughton released a statement saying he was winding down his nine-month campaign. Nearly 12,000 PC members signed on to his campaign, and former Toronto mayor Rob Ford had endorsed McNaughton, but he still trailed in the race at a distant third.
His platform included:
- a balanced Ontario budget
- new reforms against wind farms
- reforms to the new Ontario sex education curriculum
McNaughton’s campaign had been plagued with problems in the months leading up to his resignation.
In early March 2015 a former campaign worker was charged with criminal harassment against members of Elliot’s campaign.
McNaughton was also accused of homophobia by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne after he made comments about Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum. He made specific mention that Wynne, who is openly gay, had no business telling parents what was age-appropriate for their children.
He is now backing Patrick Brown for leadership of the Ontario PC party. Brown sold more than 41,000 PC memberships in Ontario, making him the front runner in the race.
Brown’s platform is based on:
- reaching out to younger demographics
- submitting future election platforms to the party for ratification
- creating a conciliatory relationship with the Liberal party
“Patrick has demonstrated that he has the energy and ability to bring thousands of new members from diverse backgrounds and different points of view into our party,” McNaughton said in his statement.
Winner announced May 9
Christine Elliot, the widow of former finance minister Jim Flaherty, has not announced how many memberships she sold. Estimates have ranged from 13,000-26,000.
Members of the Ontario PC party buy memberships to endorse candidates and also fund the campaigns, but sales do not dictate the outcome of the race.
There is a vote on May 3 and May 7 that determines the new leader of the PC party, with the winner announced in Toronto on May 9.