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EXCLUSIVE: New Tory star Lewis considering running for seat in West

“They love her out West. She’s not saying ‘no’ to the thought of running out here,” said campaign chair Craig Chandler

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The new star of the Conservative party, Leslyn Lewis, is considering running for Parliament as an MP from the West, maybe even Calgary, says one of her campaign chairs.

In a stunning result Sunday night, Lewis captured more of the popular vote than winner Erin O’Toole and runner-up Peter MacKay did on the second ballot.

Craig Chandler, Lewis’ campaign manager for Western Canada, said she “is keeping all her options open” when determining where to run.

Chandler said he believes he has found a safe seat in Calgary.

“They love her out West. She’s not saying ‘no’ to the thought of running out here,” Chandler told the Western Standard.

Chandler said he has already started fundraising for Lewis no matter where she decides to run.

“We are lobby hard to get her out here,” said Chandler, adding Lewis is taking a week off before making a final decision.

Lewis won all four Western provinces on the second ballot.

On the second ballot, Lewis had 60,316 votes, while O’Toole had 56,907 and MacKay had 54,165. That breaks down to 35.2 per cent for Lewis, 33.2 for O’Toole and 31.6 for MacKay.

But because of the weighted-by-constituency system used by the Tories – where ridings count equally regardless of how many ballots are cast – Lewis ranked just third in the points awarded.

The weighted system was a key demand by MacKay in the 2003 merger with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada. Western Conservatives have regularly attempted – but failed – to change the system which significantly waters down the votes of Westerners and amplifies those in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

It was a shockingly good result for a woman who was relatively unknown outside of her community before the race to replace Andrew Scheer started.

Lewis, a black woman with immigrant parents, even won the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan by large margins.

Lewis, 49, is a Toronto lawyer and the former Conservative candidate in a Toronto-area riding in the 2015 election, where the party has little chance of winning. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Toronto, two master’s degrees, a law degree  and a PhD in International Law.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Trudeau says thoughts of Western Alienation are ‘crazy’

The Liberal prime minister made the comment in question period as his Throne Speech was debated.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that any ideas of Western Alienation are “crazy.'”

The Liberal prime minister made the comment in question period as his Throne Speech was debated.

“The Conservatives want to make this a national unity crisis,” said Trudeau.

“I apologize, but this is simply irresponsible. We have shown, throughout this pandemic that, better than anyone else in the world, Canadians are there for one another,” he said in French.

“Thus, to try and sneak in this approach, this political attack, its simply irresponsible and crazy.”

The federal Tory party has already said they will not support the Throne Speech.

Trudeau’s “crazy” remark drew condemnation from Tory leader Erin O’Toole who tweeted video of the prime minister’s comments.

O’Toole tweet

O’Toole brought up the issue of Western Alienation during his first conversation with Trudeau after he won the Tory leadership.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, along with his Western counterparts, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, have been unanimous in saying the Throne Speech will do nothing to help the economies of the west.

Pallister was particularly critical of Trudeau for not increasing health transfers.

“When your foundation is eroding you fix your foundation first, you don’t start redecorating your second floor sitting room,” Pallister said.

Later Thursday, Canada’s premier issued a statement expressing their disappointment the Throne Speech included no increase in health care spending.

” Instead of putting forward a firm commitment to addressing the long-term sustainability of Canada’s public healthcare systems, the federal government signaled investments in new time-limited initiatives; many in areas of provincial and territorial jurisdiction, such as health, early learning and childcare, skills training, and housing,” the premier’s statement read.

They also called for revamping the federal fiscal stabilization program, something Alberta has long advocated.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Notley says Kenney shouldn’t have criticized Trudeau’s Throne Speech

“I was alarmed by the comments we heard from the Premier today,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley

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Alberta NDP leader has launched an attack on Premier Jason Kenney for daring to attack Justin’s Trudeau’s Throne Speech.

“I was alarmed by the comments we heard from the Premier today – this premier is so desperate to distract Albertans from his inability to create jobs and restart economic growth that he is continuing his fake fight with Ottawa at the expense of the best interest of the people he was elected to represent,” said Notley in a statement released on Thursday.

An angry Kenney has slammed the Wednesday Liberal Throne Speech as doing nothing for Alberta, especially the crippled energy industry.

Kenney is talking to other Canadian premiers Thursday afternoon to come up with a joint response to the Throne Speech.

“In addition to losing 50,000 jobs even before the pandemic, and in addition to shrinking Alberta’s economy with his $4.7 billion corporate handout, Jason Kenney made it clear today that he is willing to put his own political interest over the possibility of a long-awaited and long overdue national drug plan,” said the Notley statement.

“This self-serving decision will undermine the quality and affordability of the health care of millions of Albertans. This is an abdication of leadership.

“Albertans deserve a leader who will do the hard work of building a real economic recovery plan, a leader who will do whatever it takes to get Albertans back to work, and a leader who is laser focused on the challenges facing Alberta, not fake fights with federal politicians.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney’s anger at Throne Speech continues to grow

Kenney called the speech “kooky”, full of “bright shiny objects” and policy ideas that will see Alberta challenging them in the Supreme Court.

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After having a night to sleep on it, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney emerged Thursday no less angry about Justin Trudeau’s Throne Speech.

During a morning press conference, Kenney called the speech “kooky”, full of “bright shiny objects” and policy ideas that will see Alberta challenging them in the Supreme Court.

An angry Kenney said he will be talking to other premier’s later Thursday and they will issue a statement about the speech later Thursday or Friday.

The premier noted not a single word in the speech discussed the crippled oil and gas sectors in Alberta.

Nor was there any mention of the growing concern of Western Alienation.

“All premiers asked the government to focus on two things in the speech – health care and the economy,” Kenney told reporters.

“Instead we got bright shiny objects and kooky objectives.”

Kenney said he hoped the speech would offer something “to allow the energy industry that has been cut off at the knees to get back on their feet.

“Instead we got a litany of policies that would further damage industries that are struggling to survive,” he said.

Kenney also took aim at a Liberal pledge to turn 25 per cent of Canada’s land mass into protected areas.

The premier said such a “sterilizing” move would be “potentially devastating” on Alberta’s mining industry.

Kenney also blasted the speech over it’s clean fuel and other climate change promises and said Alberta “is doing everything humanly possible” to lower carbon emissions.

“If Alberta doesn’t produce these (energy) things they will be produced elsewhere,” he said.

Kenney said governments have to be able to “pivot” during hard times, just like the Stephen Harper government he was a part of did to save the Canadian auto industry.

“The government of Canada had the opportunity to pivot….they failed to pivot,” Kenney said.

Kenney said there were more policies invading provincial jurisdiction “than I could count.”

“It’s a full frontal attack on Canadian federalism,” he said.

“I see Alberta participating in many more constitutional challenges.”

Kenney once again pointed out Alberta has given the rest of the country more than $630 billion since 1960 in transfer payments to help build things like schools and hospitals across Canada.

“A strong Canada needs a strong Alberta,” he said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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