BIO

Early Family Life

Dr. Lewis is a Canadian lawyer and entrepreneur who immigrated from Jamaica when she was 5 years old. She was raised in East York, Ontario. She is the last born of six children.

 

Education

Dr. Leslyn graduated magna cum laude from the University of Toronto (Trinity College). She obtained a:

• Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Osgoode Hall Law School,

• Master of Environmental Studies (MES) from York University,

• MBA Concentration in Business and the Environment from the Schulich School of Business,

• PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in 2019.[1]

In 2018 she became a Harvard Law School -- Institute of Global Law and Policy global scholar.

She has published peer reviewed articles on the subject of corporate environmentalism and international green energy initiatives.[2] [3] [4] [5]

 

Career

Dr. Lewis is the Managing Partner of a full-service law firm (Lewis Law professional corporation); she has developed a specialized commercial litigation and international contract trade practice which focusses on energy policy. She has two decades of strong litigation experience beginning with larger downtown Toronto law firms, prior to starting this firm. She has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals on international law, contracts, climate change and the feed-in-tariff system in renewable energy projects. Her local practice focuses on corporate commercial, real estate and estates, while her international practice is concentrated in the area of cross-border services including immigration, energy law.[6] She was also an Instructor at Osgoode Hall Law School.

After leaving the larger law firms, Leslyn briefly practiced criminal law where she advocated for equity and justice issues for marginalized communities. In 2002, while working at the 1000 Finch Avenue courthouse she noticed that a man, who had been charged with criminal harassment of his same-sex partner, was not being brought into court for a bail hearing. She learned that the guards were afraid to bring him with the other inmates because of his health status; she also learned that he slept on the floor for 5 days and was denied his medication while in jail. Infuriated by this human rights abuse, she made a passionate argument for equality before the law, and refused to leave the courtroom until his matter was addressed that day. The case was reported by several newspapers and when asked why she felt so passionate about this case, she responded “Every lawyer should feel passionate in the face of injustice. Everyone is equal before the law, without exception.” Upon Hooper’s release she was interviewed: “It takes more than five days for a person with no criminal record to get a hearing?” she asked rhetorically, “It’s very sad.”[7]

 

TV Host

Dr. Lewis also had her own television show called Law Matters which examined legal issues and crisis in the lives of everyday people. In the height of one of the largest Evangelical church scandals involving Pastor Ted Haggard who reported to be engaging in extra-marital relations with a same-sex partner, she brought him on the show to talk about his sexuality and commitment to continuing as a Pastor.[8] She also interviewed an number of other guests including, Ben Johnson the former Canadian gold medalist accused of steroid abuse.[9]

 

Community Activism

Dr. Lewis is a strong community activist that believes in the right and dignity of all human beings to be treated equally before the law. She is a proponent of freedom of speech and believes that people have the right to hold divergent opinions even if they are unpopular. She also believes that society’s freedoms are being eroded and that the government is encroaching on the religious freedoms of the church and members of society to govern their own morality.

She is passionate about environmental causes and believes that economic development is not mutually exclusive from environmental sustainability and stewardship.

 

Awards and Appointments

In May 2019 she was awarded the Harry Jerome Award for Professional Excellence by the Black Business and Professional Association which is one of the most prestigious awards in the African- Canadian community.[10] She was appointed under Premier Doug Ford to the Board of the Trillium Foundation which oversees the disbursement of $110 million in grants across Ontario.[11] In June 2019 she was named Vice Chair of the Trillium Foundation and Chair of the Partnership Committee which is responsible for dispensing funds for youth programs.

In 1995 she was chosen as a student delegate for the 50th anniversary celebration of the United Nations and represented Canada at the United Nations, World Youth Leadership Training Summit. She was also summer student with the Ontario Round Table on the Environment and Economy and for a brief 3 months, was a national board director with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund.[12]

 

Politics

She began her political career in the riding of Markham-Stouffville where she was the Vice President and a primary fundraiser for the Electoral District Association under Member of Parliament Paul Calandra. In 2015, well into the election cycle and with a few weeks left until the vote, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed her as a replacement candidate to run the riding of Scarborough Rouge Park. The riding had been plagued with a serious scandal resulting in the then Conservative candidate being immediately dismissed.[13] Due to the intense media focus on the riding, the Conservative party needed a candidate with strong credentials. Leslyn assumed the candidacy after the writ had dropped and early election votes had already been casted for her predecessor. Within a few short weeks she arranged a campaign team, fundraised for the riding which had been left with no funds to run the campaign[14], obtained the 100 riding residents signatures required for her candidacy, and attended several debates.[15] Fighting an uphill battle, and without the benefit of the early election ballots that were cast for her predecessor, she still managed to obtain one of the highest vote counts among Conservatives in the GTA.[16]

In 2020 she submitted her name to as a leadership contestant for the Conservative Party of Canada;[17] she is the first visible minority women to ever run for Leader of a major federal Canadian party.

 

 

Footnotes:

1https://ozdomapp1.osgoode.yorku.ca/osgeventsmng.nsf/myOzXpLookup/A8E93D904630D3BC852583D2004F5E7E?Open Document

2 Lewis, Leslyn “Facilitating Private Financing of Green Energy Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa Through Innovative Industrial Policy” in Neil Craik, Cameron Jefferies, Sara Seck, and Timothy Stevens (eds), Global Environmental Change and Innovation in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

3 Lewis, Leslyn “Evergreening Through Trade Secrets as an Impediment to Green Technology Transfer to the Developing World” XVIII (2018) Asper Review of International Business and Trade.

4 Lewis, Leslyn “The WTO Canada Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Case and Its Application to Green Energy Projects in the Developing World: The abdication of the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement Within Green Energy Conflicts” (2016) 16 Asper Review of International Business and Trade 97.

5 Lewis, Leslyn “The Applicability of TRIPS Flexibilities to the Developing World for Climate Change Mitigation as a Public Good in Green Energy Projects” (2015) 15 Asper Review of International Business and Trade 129.

6 Lewis Law Professional Corporation website, online: https://lewislaw.ca/.

7 Tracey Tyler (Legal Affairs Reporter) “HIV Patient Denied Drugs in Jail” Cellcount (Spring 2004: 33) page 6, online: http://prisonfreepress.org/Cell_Count/Cell_Count_-_Issue_33.pdf

8  Ted Haggard, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Haggard

9  Ben Johnson, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Johnson_(Canadian_sprinter).

10 The Black Business and Professional Association, Harry Jerome Awards, 2019 Honourees, online: https://harryjeromeawards.com/2019-nominees/; https://harryjeromeawards.com/2019-nominees/; see also: https://anglescovered.blogspot.com/2019/02/.

11 Ontario Trillium Board of Directors, https://otf.ca/who-we-are/board-directors.


12 Leaf, 2010 Newsletter, online: https://www.leaf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/LEAFE-linesJuly2010.html.


13 Jerry Bance, Conservative caught peeing in mug, no longer candidate, party says https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jerry-bance-marketplace-1.3217797; Tories drop two candiates after videos show one peeing in cup, the other making prank calls, online: https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/toronto-conservative- candidates-fate-uncertain-after-video-emerges-of-him-peeing-in-a-coffee-cup; Sarah-Joyce Battersby “Man who reportedly peed in client’s mug no longer a Conservative candidate” (Sept 6,

2015)https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/09/06/conservative-candidate-peed-in-clients-mug-on-the-job-cbc- says.html; CBC News “Candidate sorry for peeing in coffee cup” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/canadian-conservative- candidate-jerry-bance-regrets-urinating-in-coffee-cup/.


14 Zujajah Islam “Scarborough-Rouge Park Candidate Visits UTSC” (Oct 19, 2015) online: https://thevarsity.ca/2015/10/19/scarborough-rouge-park-candidates-visit-utsc/.


15 Scarborough-Rouge Park Debate – 2015 Canadian Federal Election – Rogers TV, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_viKTGfsJZk; Toronto Scarborough – Rouge Park Debate, online: https://www.rogerstv.com/media?lid=237&rid=8&gid=239100; Mike Adler “Dirty politics at play in Scarborough-Rouge Park, audience member at debate alleges” Scarborough Mirror (Oct 8, 2015) https://www.toronto.com/news- story/5951428-dirty-politics-at-play-in-scarborough-rouge-park-audience-member-at-debate-alleges/.


16 Results of the 2015 Canadian federal election by riding, online:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_2015_Canadian_federal_election_by_riding.


17 Conservative Party - https://cpc-leadership2020.ca/candidates/