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Ex-PC leader Patrick Brown served libel notice by Ontario finance minister over tell-all book

Ex-PC leader Patrick Brown served libel notice by Ontario finance minister over tell-all book
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TORONTO — A Toronto-based publisher says Ontario’s finance minister is pursuing legal action against Patrick Brown over allegations made in a tell-all book by the former Progressive Conservative leader.

Dean Baxendale said Wednesday that lawyers for Vic Fedeli have demanded a full retraction of allegations of sexual misconduct made in “Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown” published in November.

Baxendale said both he and Brown have been served with a notice of libel — which can be the first step in launching a lawsuit.

Brown, who resigned as party leader last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct that he denies, portrayed himself in his book as a victim of a conspiracy led by senior Tory officials.

The book also made allegations against several key members of the Tory government, including Fedeli, whom Brown said faced accusations of “inappropriate behaviour” by a party staffer in December 2017.

Brown wrote that the accusations “were not anything I could picture being consistent with Fedeli’s character” but that he could not disregard them and told Fedeli he would look into the matter. Brown alleges that when he spoke to the complainant, she asked that the matter go no further.

Fedeli said at the time that the allegations were “categorically false and without any merit.”

Baxendale said the retraction demanded by Fedeli would gut the entire book. He said he has briefly responded to the minister’s lawyers but is planning a more extensive response.

Brown, who went on to become mayor of Brampton, Ont., was not immediately available for comment.

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