Patrick Brown’s downfall goes far beyond politics

(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Andrew MacDougall is a London-based columnist and commentator. He was a director of communications to Stephen Harper.

“(Patrick Brown) pulled down his pants…and I don’t know if he said ‘suck my d–k’ or ‘put this in your mouth,’ but something along those lines.”

Ooooof. Even in the age of Trump, the words reported by CTV News are vulgar and stark—compounded by the fact they were spoken by an elected official to a high schooler. They’re the kind of remarks that, when relayed from journalist to political office for comment, produce a panic akin to holding a live grenade, followed quickly by the preternatural calm of knowing there’s only one way it’s going to end. And so it’s goodbye to Patrick Brown, who resigned as Leader of the Ontario PCs early this morning following two separate allegations of sexual misconduct.

READ: Patrick Brown and priorities: Why the PC Party leader couldn’t last

How could Brown think this bad behaviour would stay hidden? Did he reckon the silence from his accusers during his time as an afterthought on the backbenches of the federal caucus would continue as he approached the pinnacle of Ontario politics?

The lesson to all politicians should by now be clear: if you have at any point used the power of your office to harass or assault another human being, you are unfit for that office and you will be found out. If these blights (and potential crimes) are on your record, you should expunge yourself from public life before you’re run out of town. If your strategy is to duck and hope it all blows over, you should do it off the public’s dime.

Yes, the Brown allegations remain unproven, and while it’s crucial he be afforded the chance to make a defence, there is no route back, even if Brown’s instinct was to try.

“First, I want to say these allegations are false,” Brown protested at a late-night press conference, while vowing to continue on. “Every one of them.” He left the podium without taking questions. A few hours later, he was gone.

WATCH: Trudeau addresses sexual misconduct allegations against Patrick Brown and Kent Hehr

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