Leslyn Lewis's plan to be the social conservative candidate all voters can embrace - 2020-07-13
For people to be surprised or upset that she doesn't fit into their desired boxes is "par for the course," says Leslyn Lewis.
She is the first-ever woman of colour vying to lead the Conservative Party of Canada. But some have argued that, because of her policy positions, the Toronto lawyer poorly represents her own Black Canadian constituency. Others have told her that because she is Black, she should not hold conservative beliefs at all. She is unabashedly socially conservative and expounds on the merits of traditional family values. But many in the party's anti-abortion contingent would like her to go much further than the slate of policies she proposes, which are designed for broader appeal.
Lewis is hoping that her plain-dealing approach will do more than defy her own party's expectations. "To unite the country, we have to be able to sit across the table from people who don't think like us and have strong conversations about where our country needs to go for everybody to benefit," Lewis says. A poll commissioned by her campaign showed that Canadians, writ large, overwhelmingly preferred a Conservative Party leader who fit her description—"Female. Lawyer and entrepreneur. Ph.D. in law and a master's in environmental studies. Visible minority"—over those of her opponents.