Identity politics can only divide.
To focus on what makes us different, whether that's race, gender or religion, rather than what we have in common has never served to bring people together.
Identity politics is only a tool of destruction. For one group to advance, they must tear down and destroy, which inevitably leads to a counter group rising up with an equally destructive response.
People use it to build their reputation, to advance favour for their particular group and to secure positions for their individual advancement. It is destroying politics within our country.
That’s why I was deeply disturbed last week by the actions of a newly formed group called the Association of Black Conservatives (ABC).
For over twenty years as I have served within various communities, I have had many Liberal and NDP friends tell me I didn't belong in the Conservative party. I have been told to my face more than once that I cannot be a conservative, not because of my beliefs, but because of my skin colour.
I’ve been told that I will never be accepted because of how I look — and ironically here I am surrounded by a steadily growing movement, running for the leadership of this party.
But, in the Conservative party, I have always found a family. A family that believes that it is how you think and how you act that matters above all else. A family that has embraced me and propelled me onto the final ballot. More than 3,000 CPC members signed my nomination papers, from over 30 riding in this country, across all 10 provinces. Over 3,000 Canadians believed in my conservative vision for Canada and generously donated over $300,000 in order to meet the record threshold our party had set.
So I was surprised when I discovered that members of ABC, claiming to represent the voice of black conservatives, began a smear campaign against me because my basic conservative values “did not represent black people”.
From members of this group there began to be a whisper campaign against me as a poor representation “of black women”. Using the labels that leftists often use against us as conservatives — to silence me!
Because I believe in fair and legal immigration which includes closing the illegal border crossing at Roxham Road. I was told this was “racist against black people.”
My common sense gun policies were wrong “for a black person”, despite my proposal that the $450 million wasted to buyback arms from law abiding citizens should be reallocated towards helping inner city youth to prevent them from getting involved in crime; and to help stop smuggling of firearms at the borders.
The fact that I did an interview with Rebel Media was argued to be proof that I didn’t care about black people.
More “proof” that I didn’t meet their standard? Because as a student I had invited Preston Manning - one of the founding fathers of our modern conservative movement, and a man that I strongly align with on faith issues - to speak at my university.
This was apparently a betrayal of the black community because, as the angry individual within the ABC said, and I quote: “Preston Manning should be consigned to the dustbin of history - f*** Preston Manning”.
These attacks have nothing to do with conservative ideas: they are tired liberal talking points.
Our party represents the average person by standing for family values, small businesses, and opportunity for everyone.
When I received the questionnaire from ABC for my endorsement I was horrified to see that the “executive leaders” had put together a list of identity focused questions that completely negated my existence in the race. You can see a copy of the questionnaire here. A member of my team reached out to them to modify the questionnaire to more accurately reflect conservative values and the need for mentorship and not quotas.
They displayed no understanding of the conservative principles of freedom and opportunity.
They didn’t care what I had done for my country, or the community, they only cared about what I was going to do for them personally. The organization was playing into identity politics and it was clear that individuals sought only to advance their own careers.
I believe in our grassroots Conservative members. I believe in doing politics differently — by operating with integrity and having truthful and honest discussions with my Conservative family.
I have had the opportunity in my life to help lift up those who needed help. I am the recipient of many community awards, including the highest award granted in the black community — the Harry Jerome award.
Some of these awards were granted for helping young people who were black...and others were earned for helping people who were not black. I believe in humanity, and I have spent a lot of time changing lives in prisons, inner city schools and women’s shelters — attempting to make a positive impact.
Last week it became public that the ABC found a home in Erin O'Toole's campaign, and I have had respectful conversations with him about the fact that I believe that he is being used.
I believe that Liberals within the organization are using this as a trial run as to how they will attack me. They will use people from within my community to attack me because Justin Trudeau’s usual attacks won’t work against me.
I trust in the membership of this party. I have received thousands of lovely emails and messages from Conservatives of every race, culture and language standing with me.
Standing united because of our shared values, not because of our skin colour.
This is the Conservative party that I have always known and found myself at home in.
This is the kind of Conservative party we will keep building together.
This is the kind of Conservative party that will defeat the Liberals' destructive identity politics.
I need to tell you a personal story.
I think when you know it you will understand why abortion is not a settled issue for me.
And I believe that even if you have a different opinion than me, you will understand my position a little better.
When I had just completed Law School and was starting my law career, articling on Bay street, I got pregnant.
From a career perspective this was the worst possible timing. Who would hire a law student walking around pregnant? How was I even going to study for and pass the bar exam?
The pressure to have an abortion was immense.
Friends went ahead and booked abortion consultations on my behalf.
People told me that I didn’t have a choice. It was my future, or my baby.
I need to be honest with you. In some sense they were right. For example, I was the only student not hired by the firm I was articling for, despite performing very well in my time there.
But I had something almost nobody else in my situation ever has: a supportive partner.
The most important person in my life stood by my side and helped me withstand the pressure.
And in the end, despite initial setbacks in my career, I have thrived, running my own law firm and getting incredible opportunities to teach in universities. And now I am running for leadership of our party.
My children have helped give me purpose and made me a better lawyer. They have shown me the power of choosing life.
And they are the reason I want to fight for all the women and girls who, like me, felt immense social social pressures to have an abortion.
I have been clear with my “No-Hidden Agenda” plan that:
- I will fight for the vulnerable through banning the misogynistic practice of sex-selective abortions.
- I will end abortion funding overseas and focus Canadian funding on actually helping women and girls overseas thrive.
- I will criminalize coerced abortions.
- And I will increase funding for pregnancy centres.
The last point is very important to me because I want women and girls all across Canada to have what I actually had: the support to choose life.
I want them to know that in this country you don’t have to choose between following your dreams, and having a family.
That’s what I’m fighting for.
And now you know why.
I was grieved to read this today.
The Liberal government is leaving some of the most vulnerable Canadians out in the cold.
Every single day Justin Trudeau gives a press conference and is offering some new funds to one group of Canadians to another.
They have admitted that their policy is essentially give money now, ask questions later.
But one group has been totally left out in the cold.
Survivors of human trafficking.
The vulnerable girls, and boys, women and men being trafficked in Canada are not able to just “go home” to self-quarantine.
They still need our help, and the organizations who are on the front lines helping them have lost their funding.
During the election the Liberals promised them money. They claimed they had a plan to help them.
Instead they have nothing.
In a time when government programs to assist nearly everyone are popping up with almost no planning, the government couldn’t be bothered to follow through on their own plan to protect the vulnerable.
I have based my campaign on courage, compassion and common sense.
There is no compassion in this decision. No common sense.
I have released a 5 point plan to combat human trafficking and protect the most vulnerable among us.
- Re-establish the national action plan to combat human trafficking.
- Legislative adoption of the most widely accepted international definition of human trafficking known as the Palermo Protocol.
- Strengthen criminal penalties against human traffickers to ensure that those who take advantage of the vulnerable in our society are punished for every single life they harm.
- Create a public awareness campaign about the reality of human trafficking in our society.
- Commit to keeping in place the Nordic Model to combat sex-trafficking in prostitution
A Canada without compassion is not Canada at all.
I jumped into this race because I believed that the Canada I grew up in - the country that gave me so many opportunities to succeed - was fading away.
Over the last several years we have seen many of our fundamental freedoms start to erode.
I am well aware that not everyone in our party and in Canada is a social conservative, and I don’t believe everyone needs to be.
In a free and democratic society everyone has the freedom to make up their own minds and participate in the political process.
But now Elections Canada is going after a group of pro-life Canadians.
I have had meetings with many small groups of Canadians who are passionate in advocating for the issues they care about.
And I believe they are the lifeblood of our democracy.
They are definitely more vital to our political conversations than well-paid union activists.
More important than foreign special interest groups
But Elections Canada is focused on investigating a pro-life group.
A group that did everything above board.
A group that filed all the appropriate paperwork with Elections Canada as a third party.
Are these really the people that Elections Canada want to remove from the political process?
Are these the kind of voices that they want to silence?
Our democracy must be protected. Our free speech is absolutely vital.
I have an exciting announcement to make:
I am very pleased to be joining the thousands of Canadians who are supporting Leslyn Lewis for the leadership of the Conservative Party.
Leslyn has the courage, compassion, and common sense it takes to lead this great country into a brighter future.
She speaks from the heart about how her family, faith, and hard work motivate her to fight for a stronger Canada - for everyone.From her childhood as a proud new Canadian, to her distinguished academic contributions, and her success as a business owner, Leslyn’s experiences resonate with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Leslyn has always worked for the good of Canadian families, workers, job creators, seniors, and our most vulnerable, and I’m convinced that is exactly what she will do going forward. She’s in it for Main Street Canada, not Bay Street Canada.
I know Leslyn has what it takes to grow the Conservative Party, take on Justin Trudeau, win, and build up a Canada that is strong,united, and free!
Sam Oosterhoff, MPP
Canadian farmers have helped form the backbone of our country since its very foundation.
But in a time of crisis our government has abandoned them.
After a disastrous harvest last year, and losing billions of dollars in revenue due to the fights with China over our exports, they were already in dire need of government assistance just to be able to afford to plant this year's crops.
Then COVID-19 hit. And our farmers have now lost approximately 2.6 BILLION dollars to date.
What did they get in return?
First, the Liberals raised the Carbon Tax. A tax that already was hitting farmers harder than most Canadians.
Then after waiting nearly two months from the beginning of this crisis to offer them anything the government finally announced their relief package.
252 million dollars.
That’s basically ten cents on the dollar for their losses.
My question for our government is: where do they think Canada will be in the future without a strong agricultural sector?
Farming is not a hobby, it is not a fad...it’s a literal necessity for the health and survival of our country.
A post COVID-19 Canada needs a stronger agricultural sector, not a weaker one.
The Conservative party has been home to farmers across Canada for generations, and as leader of our party I vow that I will be their champion, both here in Canada and on the world stage.
Last week I announced that as Prime Minister I would repeal the undemocratic and ineffective Liberal firearm ban.
The disrespect that Justin Trudeau showed for Parliament and for law-abiding gun owners is amazing.
And there's more to come.
Media coverage broke over the weekend that revealed that there are more bans coming.
The facts remain: none of these Liberal policies will do anything to stop gun smuggling at the border, or keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
But here's another angle that Justin Trudeau likely hasn't considered at all.
These Liberal gun bans are yet another blow against the economy.
There are over 4500 small and medium-size businesses that sell firearms, and employ over 40,000 people across the country.
These businesses will now be stuck with large amounts of inventory that is suddenly illegal for them to sell or export. That includes ammunition that was used at completely legal gun ranges.
Businesses that cannot absorb these losses will need to cut jobs or shut down completely.
Remember when Justin Trudeau said that as Prime Minister he would stand up for jobs? That was his talking point when it came to why he was trying to interfere with the prosecution of SNC Lavalin.
The same concern doesn't seem to be there it comes to oil and gas jobs, and now anyone who makes a living selling firearms.
I have promised to review all of Canada's gun laws, to make sure they're actually helping protect the public from criminal activity. These bans will be repealed, and we will adopt a common sense approach to all other gun laws.
I believe in cracking down hard on smuggled firearms.
I believe in empowering police forces to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
I want to lead a government that respects legal gun owners in Canada, instead of one that treats gun owners with contempt and disrespect.
I promise to bring common sense back to Canada’s approach to firearms and review our firearms legislation to make it clear, practical and purposeful instead of adding more legislation to our already confusing laws.
Together we can create a Canada lead with courage, compassion and common sense.
I’ve seen life change a lot since I was a kid, and in the last 10 years it feels like it’s changed faster than ever. Smartphones, Uber, Netflix; these didn’t even exist when I was a young mom.
But nothing could prepare me for how much life has suddenly changed in the last two months.
I wish with all my heart that this never happened, that nobody got sick, that nobody died.
When we are through the health portion of this battle, our Prime Minister and his officials will have to answer for why our country was slow to act.
COVID-19 is a tragedy in no uncertain terms.
But as we turn to talking about reopening Canada, I have to admit something.
I don’t want to go “back to normal”.
I don’t want to go back to where we defined wealth by what objects we possessed.
I am brought back to my childhood where we had a lot less, but we made sure it lasted longer. Most of the time we bought things that were made in Canada.
I want to build a Canada where our children aren’t worried about “more”, because we’re giving them “better”.
I don’t want to order take-out as much as I thought I needed to in order to maintain my hectic schedule.
I don’t want to go back to ordering everything on Amazon just because it’s convenient. Let’s take a pass on cheap Chinese products, and turn to far superior Canadian items that we've overlooked.
I want my children to have a better life, but I don’t believe that means they need to have more “stuff”.
As I watch cheap items gather dust, I want my kids to understand the difference between a need and a want. To cherish our family rollerblading on the street and bike rides in the park.
Progressives think that the only way for things to get better is to keep “progressing” even if it’s not really progress at all.
Amidst the fear of COVID-19, we’re learning humility and realizing what we’ve left behind: a country where we cared about our elderly neighbour and bought them groceries, shovelled their snow and cut their grass.
Conservatives know that we can’t just leave caring for our neighbours in the hands of government.
Technology and government programs cannot replace real community.
When social distancing is over, I hope we remember the world that we found at home with our families.
I hope we recognize the need to protect and nourish our families and communities and create a self-sufficient economy that puts Canada first.
Years from now we will look back on COVID-19, I hope we recall how it forced us to redefine what was plenty, and we will hold tight to the lessons we learned.
I hope that as we move forward from this crisis we will have the humility to admit that hindsight is indeed 2020.
The COVID-19 Crisis has revealed many things about our government.
Its lack of preparedness.
Its reliance on countries who are not true allies.
And its total disregard for religious freedom.
To many of our politicians, the rights of people of faith is not a matter of principle, but only a tool for political gain.
This past week we didn’t just see a church investigated by the police for holding a service by sitting in their parked cars.
The federal government slipped in confusing language into their COVID-19 relief package, that has churches and other faith-based organizations concerned they could again be excluded from government support.
Simply put, freedom of religion is not a Liberal value. Justin Trudeau has proven this time and again.
He banned ALL Liberal MPs from expressing pro-life views or voting for pro-life measures.
He changed the Canada Summer Jobs grant to disqualify any organization that held pro-life convictions.
Demanding that Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and more compromise their beliefs in order to access government support.
And he shut down Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom, which was mandated to advocate for religious minorities and oppose religious intolerance around the world.
The only values Liberals accept are those that agree with their politically correct worldview and climate fundamentalist goals.
Enough is enough.
I will entrench freedom of conscience in the Canada Summer Jobs framework to stop Liberals from picking and choosing based on religious beliefs.
I will re-open the Office of Religious Freedom to help protect the freedom to worship around the world.
And I will increase the Charitable Tax Benefit to 40%. Because our local faith based communities are a blessing to their communities and deserve to be supported, not attacked.
Faith is a gift and must be protected.
I believe that it is imperative that leadership is transparent and honest.
Yesterday I published a statement comparing my fundraising totals in March to the two purported frontrunners, Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole.
Since then some people have challenged the numbers, including Peter MacKay himself, so I wanted to explain exactly where I got them.
Erin O’Toole published his donations since March 5th himself.
For Peter MacKay, I did a little bit of math.
Peter MacKay stated himself on March 5th that he had raised one million dollars, which you can see here:
Elections Canada confirmed that Peter’s fundraising total for January 1 to March 31 was just above $1,045,000.
If we take Peter’s tweet at face value, then that means only $45,000 was raised after March 5.
If the amount actually raised after March 5 was $240,000 - as Peter now states - then that would seem to indicate the original tweet was not correct.
I took Peter at his word, so if the numbers are now shifting, I hope Peter can clarify the difference. It’s important that we as Leadership candidates model transparency because that is what our members expect.
Honesty and transparency are important to me.
In my line of work as a lawyer there are serious consequences for misrepresenting facts.
I will bring these values to the political sphere.
Our grassroots members must have every confidence that our party is being run with the utmost transparency.
Our members need to trust that all nominations will be carried out fairly.
Our members need to trust that the Conservative Fund is managing your donations well, with appropriate accountability.
If we are going to win the trust of Canadians in the next election, we need to first earn the trust of our members.
Honesty and accountability will be core to my leadership.