Trudeau commends women for their courage in speaking out on Ontario’s Brown

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DAVOS, Switzerland — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is saluting the courage of the women who have levied allegations of sexual misconduct against the former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party.

Patrick Brown resigned as leader overnight after CTV News reported that two women have come forward with graphic sexual misconduct allegations against Brown while he was a federal MP — allegations he denies.

“We take these allegations extremely seriously whenever they come up,” Trudeau said Thursday.

“My thoughts turn immediately to the women who came forward knowing how difficult it can be, to salute them for their courage, and their leadership.”

Trudeau said he hopes the women who have spoken out about Brown retain support among their friends, families and communities at large.

“I certainly hope their example will resonate.”

Brown was a Conservative backbencher under Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2015, when he stepped down to run for leader of the Ontario PC party.

Current federal party leader Andrew Scheer said the allegations against Brown must be investigated fully.

“Sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment have no place in Canadian society, especially within our political system,” Scheer said in a statement.

Trudeau has repeatedly said his government has zero-tolerance for sexual misconduct, and he used his keynote address at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week to urge companies and politicians to do more to confront the problem.

“Me Too, Times Up, the Women’s March — these movements tell us that we need to have a critical discussion on women’s rights, equality, and the power dynamics of gender,” Trudeau said Tuesday.

“Sexual harassment, for example — in business and in government — is a systemic problem and it is unacceptable. As leaders, we need to act to show that truly, time is up.”

The Canadian Press