TORONTO (Reuters) - The leader of the main opposition party in Canada's Ontario province denied allegations of sexual misconduct that broadcaster CTV News reported were made by two women, prompting several staff members to resign.
"These allegations are false, categorically untrue - every one of them," Progressive Conservative party leader Patrick Brown said at a news conference held a few minutes before CTV aired the report in its 10 p.m. evening newscast. "I will defend myself as hard as I can with all means at my disposal."
Brown is running to unseat Ontario's Liberal Premier, Kathleen Wynne, in a June election in Canada's most populous province, home to Toronto and the nation's capital Ottawa.
The CTV report included allegations from two women who said he made sexual advances towards them in separate incidents at his home.
CTV did not identify the women or show their faces. Reuters was unable to verify the claims made by CTV.
One of the women said she met Brown in a bar more than 10 years ago when she was in high school, that he invited her to his home, provided her with alcohol, even though she was under the drinking age, exposed himself and asked her to perform a sexual act.
The second, who said she worked for Brown in his office when he was a member of parliament, described an incident in which he kissed her when she was drunk.
Five aides to Brown said on Twitter that they had resigned after learning of the allegations earlier on Wednesday.
Three of them said in a joint statement that after speaking to him they had advised him to step down as party leader, but he had declined to do so.
Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal Conservative Party, called for an investigation into the claims.
"The allegations against the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are extremely serious and should be investigated fully," he said in a statement.
Brown said that he would report to work on Thursday and fight vigorously to defend himself.
"I know that public opinion moves fast," he said at the press conference. "I've instructed my attorneys to insure that these allegations are addressed where they should be - in the court of law."
(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; Additional reporting by Jule Gordon in Vancouver; Editing by Neil Fullick)