MP Leslyn Lewis Launches Conservative Leadership Bid

By Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
March 8, 2022 Updated: March 8, 2022

Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis has announced her entry into the Conservative Party leadership race. 

The lawyer and MP for Haldimand-Norfolk revealed the news in a Twitter post on March 8, saying she intends to “lead our party and our country based on Hope, Unity and Compassion.”  

“These foundational principles have guided and inspired the people who spread out across our great nation and turned it into a welcoming and prosperous land where all could succeed,” she states on her campaign website.  

Lewis, who moved to Canada from Jamaica as a child, ran in the 2020 leadership contest as a relative unknown who had never served in elected office. She was the only woman in the race and placed third behind Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay, the former Tory cabinet minister who led the Progressive Conservative party before it merged with the Canadian Alliance led by Stephen Harper in 2003. 

She was elected to represent the southwestern Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk last fall but wasn’t given a role in O’Toole’s shadow cabinet. 

Lewis is a vocal critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and the Liberal campaign promise to revoke the charitable status of anti-abortion pregnancy centres. 

She also supports a private member’s bill brought forward by her colleague MP Garnett Genuis that would add political beliefs to the list of protections under the Canadian Human Rights Act. 

With O’Toole ousted as the Tory leader, the Conservatives are scheduled to announce a new leader on Sept. 10.  Candidates for the position will have until April 19 to join the race, while ballots will start going out to Conservative party members on June 3. 

As in the 2020 leadership race, the entry fee is $200,000, plus a refundable $100,000 “compliance fee” to ensure that any rules are followed. 

Lewis’s competitors will include longtime Ottawa area MP Pierre Poilievre who declared his candidacy on Feb. 6 and is already fundraising and holding events. 

Former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who led the federal Progressive Conservatives in the mid-1990s, is also planning to run and has scheduled a campaign launch event in Calgary for March 10 to formally announce his candidacy.

Others eyeing the party’s top position are MacKay, former Tory critic for foreign affairs Michael Chong, Mayor Patrick Brown of Brampton, Ont., and former Ontario MP Leona Alleslev. 

The Canadian Press contributed to this article.

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