Latest MP to enter race for Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership
A file photo of MP Patrick Brown (far left).
BARRIE, Ont. -- Federal Conservative MP Patrick Brown has entered the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race.
And he's playing up his outsider status by promising a break from status quo in a party he says has "lost touch" with its average supporters -- and lost four straight elections.
Brown, 36, is also promising to make inroads in urban ridings with new Canadians that he calls "conservative at heart."
He's also putting space between the Ontario party's spring election pledge to slash 100,000 public sector jobs, saying that it scared away potential voters.
Brown entered the race Sunday in Barrie, with an upbeat speech preceded by a slick launch video touting his political background, which includes a stint as a Barrie councillor and MP for the riding since 2006.
The Tories are still reeling after losing the June 12 election, which many in the party blame on the job-cuts promise -- an idea from which each of the leadership hopefuls has tried to distance themselves.
The Ontario Liberals wasted no time in going after the newest PC leadership hopeful, saying Brown was among the first to congratulate then-leader Tim Hudak after he rolled out the jobs pledge.
Brown -- with a campaign slogan of "For The Win" -- becomes the fourth official entrant into the leadership race, which is expected to grow to at least five candidates next month.
The other declared candidates are MPPs Christine Elliott, Vic Fedeli and Monte McNaughton.
Potential candidates for the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership have until the end of January to file their nomination papers and until Feb. 28, 2015 to sign up new members.
Party members will pick their new leader in early May.