Throughout the 2019 election, Conservatives of every stripe watched in shock as a race that should have been in the bag was lost. Instead of a Scheer government, Canadians re-elected the lavish-spending, scandal-ridden, morally bankrupt government led by the blackface-wearing Trudeau.
The root of that failure, according to many in the media, was attributed to Scheer’s social conservative doublespeak and the party’s weak stance on environmental issues.
While all of those factors may have affected the election, the race was likely lost because the Conservatives, much like the Democrats south of the border in 2016, relied solely on the general distaste for their opponent to propel them into power.
Contrary to how most partisans feel, elections aren’t won because some part of the public dislikes the incumbent Prime Minister. That isn’t enough. In the case of two evils, many will continue to choose the evil which they know.
Instead, there also needs to be an active battle of ideas alongside the spirit of change, together creating an environment where voters can actually believe life will be better for them and their children.
It is with this in mind that we will be endorsing Dr. Leslyn Lewis to be the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Throughout the leadership campaign, Dr. Lewis has championed a movement inclusive of minorities and youth, unabashedly conservative, providing for a vision of Canada founded on positive change.
Her stances on women’s reproductive health, namely the banning of sex-selective abortion, curtailing funding for international abortion, protecting women from coerced abortion, and allowing free votes on issues of conscience are all out in the open. These positions are supported by a majority of Canadians, especially minority groups.
According to a DART & Maru/Blue poll, as many as 84% of Canadians believe the practice of late-stage abortion should be illegal.
On COVID-19, the public health crisis of our time, Lewis has struck the right tone: critiquing the mistakes of our government and the WHO while remaining realistic about the risk and real-world conditions.
Perhaps her best point here can be summarized in her view that, If Canadians have the right to kneel in protest, they should have the right to kneel in prayer. Issues of conscience at the end of the day should be deemed essential, and it’s time we treated them equally.
On minority issues, as the first visible minority to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, and as a trained lawyer, she has the lived experience and skills to outright shine by comparison to the very white, very male, very privileged Justin Trudeau.
On the social issues of today, she has no competitor. For example, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Lewis has been the sole candidate to put forward messaging that could be qualified as authentic and decidedly conservative.
Even when it comes to messaging around the timing of the next election, Lewis has been spot on. Where her two primary opponents have promised an election as soon as possible, Lewis has played it smart, understanding that a new leader needs time to actually build a winning campaign.
That choice is even wiser with COVID-19 ripping through the world. Canada’s economy has taken a hammering. Meanwhile, the government can do no wrong – across Canada, the response of provincial and federal governments to the pandemic has buoyed public support for nearly every first minister.
What Canada needs is a concrete opposition and lead time to slowly display the abject failures of Ottawa. In short: not an election.
Yes, Lewis’ debate skills, particularly in French, leave much to be desired.
Peter MacKay’s near-monopoly on partisan campaign operatives (which forced O’Toole to seek labour from south of the border), has also meant Lewis has access to just a tiny portion of professional campaigners.
Should Lewis win, she will have time to improve in these areas. Debate coaching with the right people will do wonders. Add this to three post-graduate degrees across law and the environment, and, once prepped, she will be absolutely devastating against Team Trudeau on their core social issues and the environment.
Secondly, even with her noticeably stunted debate performance, large sections of the base still found Lewis to be authentic, a key variable behind candidate growth in any campaign, especially those with a digital focus.
Lewis has been rewarded by this perceived authenticity. Her digital campaign is surging by every verifiable statistic, while the amount of media coverage is rapidly increasing.
Of course, it seems it’s not just Conservative voters at home who are realizing that they agree on a lot with Dr. Lewis. Even the candidates she is competing against can’t stop agreeing with her.
There really is something important to be said about the number of times her competitors agreed with her.
In 2017, in the first election following the exit of party founder Stephen Harper, the Big Blue tent allowed itself to be at least partially torn by the bitter battle between Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier.
This race has not reached the same boiling point, but we’re not far off. The Mackay and O’Toole camps have been at each other’s throats for three months and the potential involvement of the RCMP won’t help. It’s not hard to imagine that the O’Toole and Mackay teams, and potentially their voters, will be left in a state of anger should either candidate win.
With even her competitors seeming like they would prefer Lewis over anyone else, it’s quite clear who can sidestep this dispute, first uniting the conservative movement and then expanding it to ensure victory.
It’s time for Dr. Leslyn Lewis to lead our party.