She’s already saying some things that will really resonate with many Conservatives.
Dr. Leslyn Lewis, the Toronto lawyer who is seeking the leadership of the Conservative Party, could shake up the Conservative leadership race.
Lewis is already taking an approach focused on standing up for working class Canadians, a segment of the population the Conservatives will need to win over in order to have a chance of winning next time.
To find out what Lewis stands for, here’s what she shared on her campaign website:
“It has been said that to whom much is given, much is expected. I am running to be the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada because Canadians can and should expect much more from their leaders.
When my parents migrated from Jamaica, they left everything behind so their children could have a better life. As the youngest of six children, born to a mother of Indian descent, and a father of African-Caribbean descent, I came to Canada when I was five years old and grew up in East York. The values of Canada and Canadians – generosity, fair opportunity, rewarding hard work – enabled me to realize all the dreams of my immigrant parents. I achieved a Bachelors Degree from the University of Toronto, Trinity College graduating Magna Cum Laude, a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, an MBA Concentration in Business and Environment from the Schulich School of Business and a Juris Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School and a PhD in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.
All of this was possible because of the sacrifices made by those who came before me, and the opportunities that Canada provided to me. Our values and democratic institutions were the foundation for my success as a mother, lawyer, teacher and community advocate.
And now much is required in return.
I am running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada because I see these opportunities for future generations falling away and I see our values being undermined – even within our own Party.
When my mother arrived in Canada, she didn’t have a winter coat or boots. She earned $1.50 per hour in her first job. But she knew that with hard work – sometimes over 80 hours per week – she could give her children a better life. Canadians understand the need to balance compassion and hard work. If you’re like me, having a society where we can earn a fair wage, pay our bills and properly educate our children should be common sense. No parent wants the choices they make today to compromise their children’s future. That is why I and so many Canadians that I’ve talked to want to see competence from their leaders when it comes to handling key issues like jobs, the economy, and the environment.
They also want to see the courage needed to hold fast to the values that make up the foundation of our democracy. I believe that government should support its citizens in the most unobtrusive manner. This means that government should not run reckless deficits, interfere with commercial interests that provide jobs to its citizens, or tie politically-motivated values tests to program funding.
I believe in a separation of church and state, and individual freedoms including freedom of religion, conscience and expression. I have benefitted from these freedoms, and so should everyone else.
I have heard many speak of tolerance, but then turn and shame those who hold beliefs and opinions different than their own. Division and identity politics is pervasive in parties and media. Even our Party is not immune, where people capitalize from potentially divisive labels. It’s time we had the courage to call this out and take steps to heal our divisions. And I believe it starts by knowing that it takes courage not only to hold your own opinion, but also to respect someone else’s right to hold theirs.
The environment is another area where I believe we need courageous leadership. As one of my passions and areas of training, I believe that we can effectively balance environmental stewardship with the development of our resources, which creates jobs for our citizens. Every year we import millions of barrels of oil from countries with lower environmental standards than we have in Canada. We do this at the expense of our energy workers and with the possible outcome that Alberta will secede from Canada. We do this while ignoring the need to fix the conditions of Indigenous communities, many of which have no access to clean drinking water. Before allocating foreign aid, we need to ensure that the pressing needs within our country are properly addressed.
That’s why I advocate for one, all-inclusive Conservative Party of Canada, and do not shy away from speaking clearly about my own beliefs and convictions while respecting the beliefs and convictions of others on these and many other issues.
I appeal to you not as a career politician, but as someone who has been given much by Canada and wants to give a positive return on that investment. I am ready to serve as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada because of my diverse knowledge and skillset, my experience in bringing people from all walks of life together, and my strength and ability to overcome obstacles. If I am elected as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and as your next Prime Minister, I will work day-in and day-out to help all Canadians have the opportunities to pursue their own dreams, just as I did.
It’s time for Canada’s leaders to invest in our country and to improve the lives of our citizens. In order for that to happen I need your support. Join me and together we can forge a common destiny with courage, compassion and common sense!”
The Conservative Party is at risk of falling into complacency, demoralizing their own party base, and having a coronation instead of a leadership race.
If the party fails to understand the importance of becoming a party that represents working class Canadians, and if they go down the elitist route, they could lose again.
That’s why having more voices in the race, including someone like Dr. Leslyn Lewis, would benefit the party and potentially give the CPC leadership contest the shakeup it needs.
Photo – Twitter