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Former Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown at the Queen's Park Legislature in Toronto in 2018.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Patrick Brown, the mayor of one of the largest cities in the Toronto region, says he will decide “very soon” whether to run for the leadership of the federal Conservatives.

The Brampton mayor made his comment Wednesday amid confirmation of a settlement in a legal dispute with CTV News over its report of allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Brown in 2018.

At the time, he was the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives but he resigned as a result of the controversy around the report.

“I am very happy that this is behind me,” Mr. Brown told a news conference, thanking his family for their support. “I am looking with optimism toward the future.”

On the leadership race, Mr. Brown said, ”I’m going to make a decision very soon. ... I certainly believe that I need to make a decision in the coming days given that the race has already started.”

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A spokesperson for CTV News issued a statement on Wednesday that confirmed Mr. Brown and CTV have resolved their legal dispute, but said no money was paid to Mr. Brown.

“The matter was settled for the provision of the update and no money was exchanged,” said a statement issued by Tammy Scott, a senior vice-president for communications at CTV owner Bell Media.

The “update” refers to a statement on a legal action Mr. Brown launched, seeking $8-million from CTV as part of a defamation suit for a report on allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving two young women.

The statement said, “On Jan. 24, 2018, four months before a provincial election, CTV broadcast a segment concerning Patrick Brown. Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown.”

Mr. Brown is also a former MP, who has been praised for his management of the pandemic in his city.

Ontario MPs Pierre Poilievre and Leslyn Lewis have entered the third Conservative leadership race in seven years, prompted by caucus voting out former leader Erin O’Toole on Feb.2.

Jean Charest has called the Tory party president to say he will seek the leadership, Michelle Coates Mather, a spokesperson for the former Quebec premier, said in an e-mail. Mr. Charest is to officially launch his campaign on Thursday in Calgary.

Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber was also set to enter the race on Wednesday night.

Candidates have until April 19 to declare they are running. The deadline for new party members, eligible to vote for leader, is June 3. The winner will be declared on Sept. 10.

Campaign rules released by the party on Wednesday said candidates can spend a maximum $7-million for expenses. There’s a candidate registration fee of $200,000, with an additional returnable deposit of $100,000.

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