Leslyn Lewis Says Questions Not Already Addressed Should be Asked at Upcoming Tory Leadership Debate

By Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
July 28, 2022 Updated: July 28, 2022

Leslyn Lewis says the upcoming Conservative leadership debate should explore topics such as the candidates’ plans for fighting the Liberals’ climate change policies and inquiring into the pandemic response, rather than addressing questions already answered.

The Tory leadership candidate suggests that she would not attend the debate next week if those and other questions that she said everyday party members are concerned about are not asked.

“It is easy to survey the parties’ 675,000 members and cherry-pick some ‘member-asked questions’ that are safe and paint our party in a media-friendly light. But if we are going to hold a debate that will actually inform the members’ voting decisions, we need to address the questions that the members are asking us directly,” Lewis said in a July 27 open letter to her party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC).

“I cannot in good conscience fritter away an opportunity to meet thousands of Canadians who are desperate for answers so that I could attend an impromptu meeting with leadership candidates to discuss questions to which the answers have already been memorialized in previous debate videos that exist online.”

Lewis said some “usual questions,” such as carbon taxes, commitment to build pipelines, and the general need to balance the federal budget, have long been addressed. Instead, she posted a list of questions that she said should be asked of the candidates at the debate:

  • How are we going to fight back against the Liberals Net-Zero Policy?
  • What will we do in regards to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and their plans for programs that encroach on the privacy of Canadians?
  • Will we act to keep Canada out of the WHO Pandemic Treaty, and how will we navigate those negotiations and the first draft of the Treaty set for August 2022?
  • What are we going to do about the increasing counts of people who have suffered severe adverse reactions to the COVID vaccines, and the fact that our government signed contracts absolving the companies of liability?
  • Will we call an inquiry into the pandemic response, especially as government officials are starting to admit they knew ahead of time the vaccines didn’t stop transmission? Why was information regarding the inability of the COVID vaccine to stop transmission withheld from Canadians?
  • When the Liberals inevitably bring up abortion in the next election , what will we say?

“These questions are posed to me at every single stop,” Lewis said.

In regards to Lewis’s questions, a Conservative Party spokesperson Yaroslav Baran told The Epoch Times that the debate planning process “cannot be successful if we allow individual campaigns to dictate the questions as a condition of participation.”

“Multiply that by five campaigns, and the whole integrity of the debate plan falls apart. It clearly can’t work that way,” he said.

Call for Debate Detail

The next Tory leadership debate is scheduled for less than a week away, on Aug. 3.

However, the LEOC has still not announced the format and details, Lewis said. She added that the debate was scheduled on that day despite her explicitly stating her unavailability.

“Despite our team being in regular communication to confirm whether there was going to be a third official party debate, we were granted only two weeks’ notice to change our travel plans, cancel events with grassroots members, and were threatened with a fine of $50,000 if we didn’t cooperate with this sudden change of plans,” she said.

When asked about the delay in releasing the debate details, Baran said the LEOC is communicating with all five candidates’ campaign teams to plan “a solid debate,” with details being finalized on July 28.

“We have confidence that it will be a good debate that allows Canadians to evaluate the candidates’ positions. As it is an official debate, it is considered mandatory. Beyond that, we understand that passions can sometimes run high at such times, and appreciate that each campaign will make its own decisions,” he said.

A sample complaint letter, provided on the committee’s website for Conservative party members and addressed to LEOC chair Ian Brodie, party president Robert Batherson, and executive director Wayne Benson, calls for the upcoming Tory leadership race to be held in “a timely manner.”

“We are concerned that National Council may be delaying the implementation of the leadership rules candidates will be subject to, and this simply cannot happen,” the letter reads.

It argues that the Conservative Party has remained “effectively leaderless since September 21, 2021,” after last year’s federal election.

The letter also notes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has threatened to trigger an election if Parliament voted against his invocation of the Emergencies Act to clear out the truckers’ Freedom Convoy protest that was staged earlier this year against the Liberals’ COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions.

“So our party cannot be caught unprepared in the event of a snap, power-grab election,” the letter reads.

“Time is simply a luxury our party cannot afford.”

Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.