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North Bay's Fideli selected as interim PC leader

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Ontario PC party president Rick Dykstra resigns

All 200,000 members of the party will vote on March 24 on a new leader to challenge Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. He also said, however, that he "never saw anything that would have indicated any activity such as that" during the time he spent with Brown. "This is going to have to be a very quick process".

Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark is enthusiastic about the choice of his legislature seat-mate Vic Fedeli as interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives, saying he'll be an "exceptional leader".

"He is our leader".

MP Lisa Raitt revealed on Saturday she will not be entering Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race.

Just six months shy of a provincial election, Brown was forced to step aside as leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservative party amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Amid all the uncertainty, Fedeli (Nipissing), who ran in the 2015 PC leadership won by Brown, said this is not the time for another divisive and polarizing contest with only 132 days until Election Day.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a tweet Wednesday night that it's a hard and courageous thing for these women to come forward.

Fedeli said he started receiving calls from caucus members advising him of the allegations against Brown Thursday around 8 p.m., shortly after his flight from Toronto arrived at the North Bay airport.

The PC caucus will investigate how it dealt with allegations raised against Brown, Fedeli said, noting he would not support Brown remaining on as a Tory legislator if the allegations have not been addressed.

In a series of messages posted to Twitter on Friday, Soudas confirmed that MacLeod did inform him about "rumours and allegations" with regards to Brown.

She said Brown could not continue with the election fast approaching, but no decision had been made on naming a new leader.

Fedeli said he learned of the allegations through the media.

"I am from Ottawa so I would hear these things from another period of time", she said.

Barrett called the timing of the allegations against Brown "interesting".

"This was a plan... that was developed by all of our party members".

"We're supposed to be innocent until if, if, and I say if in a big word, if we are found guilty".

The party membership would be immediately frozen and "the chips fall where they may", he said. The development follows a morning caucus meeting in Toronto with his fellow MPPs. He was considered by many to be a favourite for the role.

In the first incident, which occurred more than a decade ago, a young woman said, she met Brown at a bar in his hometown of Barrie, Ontario, when she was still in high school.

Because the party hasn't yet committed to a full membership vote, the interim leadership job also may not come with the standard restriction - applied recently, for instance, to Rona Ambrose - against competing for the job on a longer-term basis.

"It would be a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on the party and a new leader for two months leading into the election", he said.

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