TORONTO — The turmoil continues at Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, with party president Rick Dykstra announcing his resignation.
In a post on his verified Twitter account Sunday night, Dykstra announced he’s stepping down after nearly two years in the position.
He says it’s been a “wonderful experience,” and he hopes to watch the party “coalesce around a new leader in the coming months.”
Dykstra’s resignation follows a major staff shakeup at the party earlier in the day, as well as the resignation of party leader Patrick Brown amid sexual misconduct allegations last week.
Two key members of the party who resigned after the allegations surfaced have now returned while multiple other positions are being slashed, according to a memo from one of the staffers that was obtained by the Canadian Press.
The party’s chief of staff, Alykhan Velshi, and director of communications, Nick Bergamini, were two of four key party members who announced their resignations minutes before CTV News aired graphic allegations against Brown on Wednesday night.
The allegations, which have not been independently verified by The Canadian Press, were made to CTV by two women.
Brown denied them in a brief, emotional news conference just before the report aired Wednesday night, but announced his resignation as party leader in a statement early the next morning.
The Tory caucus chose Vic Fedeli as its interim leader on Friday, and the party will hold a leadership race to choose a permanent replacement sometime before March.
An email sent to party staff by Velshi on Sunday outlined his and Bergamini’s return to their previous positions, while also announcing that many high-level positions would be eliminated in a “reorganization” following the Brown debacle.
An executive director position, two deputy chief of staff positions, a party adviser position, and a number of junior and mid-level jobs are being eliminated.
“With any change in leadership comes a need for reorganization,” Velshi wrote in the email. “While reorganizations are always difficult, they are also sometimes necessary.”
Velshi also noted that the staffing changes were based on recommendations he made to Fedeli.
He underlined that the decisions had nothing to do with Fedeli’s own campaign objectives to become the party’s next leader ahead of a provincial election in June.
“At no point did (Fedeli’s) campaign team attempt to influence or interfere in those decisions,” wrote Velshi. “Responsibility for any recommendation is mine alone.”
The Canadian Press