Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis seeking historic win in Conservative leadership race

News Feb 01, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis could make Canadian political history if she wins the Conservative Party leadership race.

Lewis, who finished second to Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree in the 2015 federal election, would become the first black woman to oversee a major Canadian political party if she upsets main contenders Peter MacKay, a former minister under the Stephen Harper government; Erin O'Toole, a Conservative MP and former military officer; and Marilyn Gladu, the Tories' health and science critic.

“It is historic,” said Lewis, 49, who emigrated with her mother from Jamaica when she was five years old and settled in East York. “It sends a message (that) I am the new face of the party. It sends a message our party is inclusive and that despite our party having divergent perspectives that we are under one tent.”

Lewis was at the Hamilton Club Jan. 30, greeting about 20 local Conservative party members at an event hosted by Conservative Party member John Vail.

Lewis, who holds several degrees including a PhD from Osgoode Hall law school, is a managing partner with Lewis Law Professional and has practised for about 20 years.

She has been involved in a variety of charitable organizations over the years, including serving as vice-chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and as a board member with the Women’s Legal Education Fund.

After her first foray into politics in 2015, Lewis said now is the time to give back to a Canadian community that has provided so much to her and her family.

After last year's federal election, the party has split between progressive and social conservatives, she said, adding there are fears the country is unravelling as disgruntled Western provinces talk about leaving the country.

“We need to find commonality,” she said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done for people to build respect for different views and perspective.”

She also feels she can reach out to disaffected Ontario and Quebec voters who shunned the party in 2019 and left it short of winning a majority.

Lewis will be focusing on such issues as the environment, immigration and the economy during her leadership bid.

When asked if she spoke French, Lewis acknowledged she isn’t bilingual but promised to immerse herself in the language once she announces her candidacy.

“I do believe the leader of the country should be able to communicate in both official languages,” she said. “I respect that.”

Lewis said she expects to submit her nomination papers, signatures and deposit to the party by early February, and to officially announce for candidacy shortly afterwards.

The party has set a high bar for prospective candidates. Hopefuls must stump up a $25,000 instalment of their registration fees and have 1,000 signatures from members in at least 30 different ridings and in at least seven different provinces or territories by Feb. 27.

Candidates will then have to submit 3,000 signatures and provide the rest of their $300,000 fees by March 25. The party has scheduled June 27 to elect its new leader in Toronto.

Lewis's campaign team was soliciting signatures at the Hamilton event.

Aside from MacKay, O’Toole and Gladu, other contenders for the leadership include Ricard Decarie, former prime minister Stephen Harper’s deputy chief of staff; Jim Karahalios, an anti-carbon-tax activist and lawyer; Clayton Knutzon, a former candidate for Alberta’s far-right Freedom Conservative Party; Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman; Aron Seal, founder of the cannabis company Cfusion Inc.; Bobby Singh, a Toronto businessman; and Derek Sloan, an Ontario lawyer and MP representing the riding of Hastings, Lennox and Addington.

Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis could make Canadian political history in Conservative leadership race

Lawyer would be the first black woman to lead a major Canadian political party

News Feb 01, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis could make Canadian political history if she wins the Conservative Party leadership race.

Lewis, who finished second to Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree in the 2015 federal election, would become the first black woman to oversee a major Canadian political party if she upsets main contenders Peter MacKay, a former minister under the Stephen Harper government; Erin O'Toole, a Conservative MP and former military officer; and Marilyn Gladu, the Tories' health and science critic.

“It is historic,” said Lewis, 49, who emigrated with her mother from Jamaica when she was five years old and settled in East York. “It sends a message (that) I am the new face of the party. It sends a message our party is inclusive and that despite our party having divergent perspectives that we are under one tent.”

Lewis was at the Hamilton Club Jan. 30, greeting about 20 local Conservative party members at an event hosted by Conservative Party member John Vail.

Lewis, who holds several degrees including a PhD from Osgoode Hall law school, is a managing partner with Lewis Law Professional and has practised for about 20 years.

She has been involved in a variety of charitable organizations over the years, including serving as vice-chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and as a board member with the Women’s Legal Education Fund.

After her first foray into politics in 2015, Lewis said now is the time to give back to a Canadian community that has provided so much to her and her family.

After last year's federal election, the party has split between progressive and social conservatives, she said, adding there are fears the country is unravelling as disgruntled Western provinces talk about leaving the country.

“We need to find commonality,” she said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done for people to build respect for different views and perspective.”

She also feels she can reach out to disaffected Ontario and Quebec voters who shunned the party in 2019 and left it short of winning a majority.

Lewis will be focusing on such issues as the environment, immigration and the economy during her leadership bid.

When asked if she spoke French, Lewis acknowledged she isn’t bilingual but promised to immerse herself in the language once she announces her candidacy.

“I do believe the leader of the country should be able to communicate in both official languages,” she said. “I respect that.”

Lewis said she expects to submit her nomination papers, signatures and deposit to the party by early February, and to officially announce for candidacy shortly afterwards.

The party has set a high bar for prospective candidates. Hopefuls must stump up a $25,000 instalment of their registration fees and have 1,000 signatures from members in at least 30 different ridings and in at least seven different provinces or territories by Feb. 27.

Candidates will then have to submit 3,000 signatures and provide the rest of their $300,000 fees by March 25. The party has scheduled June 27 to elect its new leader in Toronto.

Lewis's campaign team was soliciting signatures at the Hamilton event.

Aside from MacKay, O’Toole and Gladu, other contenders for the leadership include Ricard Decarie, former prime minister Stephen Harper’s deputy chief of staff; Jim Karahalios, an anti-carbon-tax activist and lawyer; Clayton Knutzon, a former candidate for Alberta’s far-right Freedom Conservative Party; Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman; Aron Seal, founder of the cannabis company Cfusion Inc.; Bobby Singh, a Toronto businessman; and Derek Sloan, an Ontario lawyer and MP representing the riding of Hastings, Lennox and Addington.

Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis could make Canadian political history in Conservative leadership race

Lawyer would be the first black woman to lead a major Canadian political party

News Feb 01, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis could make Canadian political history if she wins the Conservative Party leadership race.

Lewis, who finished second to Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree in the 2015 federal election, would become the first black woman to oversee a major Canadian political party if she upsets main contenders Peter MacKay, a former minister under the Stephen Harper government; Erin O'Toole, a Conservative MP and former military officer; and Marilyn Gladu, the Tories' health and science critic.

“It is historic,” said Lewis, 49, who emigrated with her mother from Jamaica when she was five years old and settled in East York. “It sends a message (that) I am the new face of the party. It sends a message our party is inclusive and that despite our party having divergent perspectives that we are under one tent.”

Lewis was at the Hamilton Club Jan. 30, greeting about 20 local Conservative party members at an event hosted by Conservative Party member John Vail.

Lewis, who holds several degrees including a PhD from Osgoode Hall law school, is a managing partner with Lewis Law Professional and has practised for about 20 years.

She has been involved in a variety of charitable organizations over the years, including serving as vice-chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and as a board member with the Women’s Legal Education Fund.

After her first foray into politics in 2015, Lewis said now is the time to give back to a Canadian community that has provided so much to her and her family.

After last year's federal election, the party has split between progressive and social conservatives, she said, adding there are fears the country is unravelling as disgruntled Western provinces talk about leaving the country.

“We need to find commonality,” she said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done for people to build respect for different views and perspective.”

She also feels she can reach out to disaffected Ontario and Quebec voters who shunned the party in 2019 and left it short of winning a majority.

Lewis will be focusing on such issues as the environment, immigration and the economy during her leadership bid.

When asked if she spoke French, Lewis acknowledged she isn’t bilingual but promised to immerse herself in the language once she announces her candidacy.

“I do believe the leader of the country should be able to communicate in both official languages,” she said. “I respect that.”

Lewis said she expects to submit her nomination papers, signatures and deposit to the party by early February, and to officially announce for candidacy shortly afterwards.

The party has set a high bar for prospective candidates. Hopefuls must stump up a $25,000 instalment of their registration fees and have 1,000 signatures from members in at least 30 different ridings and in at least seven different provinces or territories by Feb. 27.

Candidates will then have to submit 3,000 signatures and provide the rest of their $300,000 fees by March 25. The party has scheduled June 27 to elect its new leader in Toronto.

Lewis's campaign team was soliciting signatures at the Hamilton event.

Aside from MacKay, O’Toole and Gladu, other contenders for the leadership include Ricard Decarie, former prime minister Stephen Harper’s deputy chief of staff; Jim Karahalios, an anti-carbon-tax activist and lawyer; Clayton Knutzon, a former candidate for Alberta’s far-right Freedom Conservative Party; Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman; Aron Seal, founder of the cannabis company Cfusion Inc.; Bobby Singh, a Toronto businessman; and Derek Sloan, an Ontario lawyer and MP representing the riding of Hastings, Lennox and Addington.