In a written statement, Monte McNaughton, MPP Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, said he is winding down his campaign to be the next leader of the Ontario PC Party. McNaughton endorsed Patrick Brown as the next leader. McNaughton said, “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, which is exactly what I’ve been saying we need.” Brown is the 36-year-old rising star for the conservatives and the sitting MP for Barrie. McNaughton said about Brown, “As a fellow conservative, he will reform our Party. I look forward to working with him to build a larger, stronger, modern Party that will give a voice to every member and reflect the real priorities of Ontario families. He is the best choice to lead the Ontario PC Party at this time and I am pleased to support him.”
McNaughton had campaigned on a family values platform but his message never resonated with Ontarians. McNaughton argued repeatedly that Ben Levin was key to the new sex-ed curriculum being instituted by the Liberals, when the Liberals adamantly denied he played any part in the controversial policy. Levin pleaded guilty on March 3 to child pornography, possession of child pornography and counselling to commit a sexual assault. McNaughton was unable to show that Levin had any role in writing the new policy. McNaughton was accused at one point during his campaign of being homophobic when he said he didn’t trust government to teach sex-ed to children, and added “especially Kathleen Wynne”. McNaughton said he will continue to stand with parents who oppose the sex-ed curriculum.
Christine Elliot is the runaway leader of the campaign and is widely expected to take over the party on May 9. The Party will hold a convention in Toronto to release the results of Party polling that takes place on May 3 and May 7.