Conservative leadership candidate paints bleak portrait of Canada

The country’s institutions are crumbling, democracy is dying, family values are under attack, and “global forces” are threatening our sovereignty.

That was the portrait of Canada painted by Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis last night in Halifax.

“The fabric of our nation is being torn apart,” the Ontario MP told a gathering of more than 100 people at a downtown hotel. “I’m seeing regions feeling alienation, like the Atlantic region, that is totally disrespected by Ottawa.”

A social conservative who rose to prominence during the party’s last leadership race, Lewis lamented the “breakdown of our family structure” and condemned “cancel culture,” “virtue-signalling,” and a largely undefined loss of individual freedoms.

“I see parents not being able to raise their children in accordance with their values because they are afraid of government imposition and government intervention in their lives,” she said.

Despite doing interviews with bottom-feeding outrage merchants like Rebel News, True North, and the Post Millennial, Lewis felt compelled to critique the state of journalism in Canada.

“We need to restore our faith in the media,” she said to hearty applause. “When the media is acting like an arm of the government, that is dangerous for our democracy.”

But while Lewis had no trouble diagnosing the country’s problems, she offered little in the way of concrete solutions.

That didn’t seem to bother those in attendance last night, and it’s unlikely to hurt her chances of picking up a good portion of the 100 leadership points at stake in each of Nova Scotia’s 11 federal ridings.

No one was surprised when Peter MacKay got the most votes in his home province in 2020. But some observers were taken aback when Lewis edged out eventual winner and former Nova Scotia resident Erin O’Toole for second place.

In fact, she was the runner-up to MacKay in all three Maritime provinces and stands to do well here this time around. One of the seven MPs endorsing her is caucus mate Richard Bragdon of New Brunswick, who introduced Lewis at the Halifax event and an earlier one in Amherst.

A former lawyer who left a Bay Street firm to start her own practice, Lewis is promising to unite Conservatives and reach out to those of other political stripes.

“I’m a bridge-builder,” she said. “Even though I’m pro-life, a pro-choice person is welcome to have a conversation with me.”

That may be so, but some of her conspiracy-laden ideas are likely to scare off moderate Canadians.

In response to a question from the audience, Lewis warned that a pandemic treaty which has yet to be written or ratified is a danger to Canadian independence.

“It states that, whenever there is a pandemic, the World Health Organization will take over the management in the countries that are signatories to the treaty,” she said about the unwritten and unratified treaty.

“The definition of a pandemic is not just COVID,” she continued. “It could be a rise in heart attacks, a rise in strokes, anything that they define — rising suicide — anything that they define to be a pandemic, they can then invoke the treaty and take over management.”

And the WHO isn’t the only international body seeking to impose its will on Canada, Lewis told the audience.

“That’s just one of the global forces that’s affecting our sovereignty,” she said. “There are numerous others, with the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, et cetera.”

Lewis was not the first Conservative leadership candidate to visit Nova Scotia.

She was preceded by Jean Charest, whose event in Dartmouth three weeks ago drew fewer people, and appeared to generate less buzz and excitement. Leona Alleslev held an event in Halifax on April 13, according to her Facebook page.

(Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated to include Leona Alleslev’s leadership campaign stop in Halifax.)