Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis to seek Haldimand-Norfolk nomination

OPEN DIGITAL ACCESS Sep 15, 2020 Hamilton Spectator

After a unexpectedly strong showing in the federal Conservative leadership race, Leslyn Lewis is betting on the people of Haldimand-Norfolk to usher her into the House of Commons.

Lewis, a lawyer and rookie politician from Toronto, exceeded expectations by finishing third in the national leadership contest while also garnering the most votes from party members in several Ontario ridings.

On Tuesday, she announced that she intends to seek the party nomination in Haldimand-Norfolk and represent the Conservatives on the ballot whenever the next election is called.

“Haldimand-Norfolk is a beautiful place with the most amazing, hardworking people. It would be an absolute honour to represent them and fight to make their lives better,” Lewis said in a statement announcing her candidacy.

Lewis is a social conservative who campaigned on pro-life policies. She favours tax credits for home and business renovations over taxing carbon to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

She has the backing of outgoing MP Diane Finley, who announced in August that she would not seek re-election after representing Haldimand-Norfolk for 16 years.

“Leslyn has shown time and again that she is hardworking and passionate, just like the people here in Haldimand-Norfolk,” Finley said in a statement.

“Not only has she proven with each conversation that she is knowledgeable about the issues that matter most to our community, but the way that she connects with people makes me confident that she would represent us incredibly well. I offer Leslyn my full support.”

During the leadership race, Lewis rose from relative political obscurity to win the most votes on the first ballot in Haldimand-Norfolk and Brantford-Brant. She captured the popular vote nationally on the second ballot.

Former Conservative MPP Phil Gillies, who represented Brantford in the 1980s, said Lewis would be “a formidable candidate” in Haldimand-Norfolk.

“Leslyn Lewis is very straightforward and I like that,” said Murray Porteous, a retired Norfolk farmer and Conservative riding association board member who praised Lewis’ “common sense approach on issues.”

Lewis’ family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica when she was five. She has a master’s degree in environmental studies and a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School.

“To me, if you want to get things done and do them well, you need courage, compassion and common sense,” Lewis said. “That’s what I will bring to the table as the Conservative candidate for Haldimand-Norfolk.”

The party’s riding association will still hold a nomination process, giving other Conservatives the opportunity to run against Lewis. Former association president Dustin Wakeford says it’s very likely a local challenger will emerge.

“I don’t know anybody who’s happy about this. Almost every single Tory I talk to, they don’t like the idea,” Wakeford said. “They don’t want somebody who’s not from this area. They resent somebody being parachuted in.”

Wakeford, who publicly backed eventual winner Erin O’Toole for party leader, said Lewis’ social conservative views resonated in some areas of Haldimand but might not play well across the whole riding, which he said leans more toward fiscal conservatism.

“The demographics of the riding are changing,” Wakeford said, pointing to an influx of urbanites leaving the Greater Toronto Area to resettle in Norfolk. “I think at least the social aspects of the area are becoming more liberal.”

The Lewis campaign said she is currently house-hunting in the riding, and her campaign announcement touched on local issues she wants to address, such as gun control, broadband internet access and illegal marijuana grow-ops.

J.P. Antonacci’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows him to report on stories about the regions of Haldimand and Norfolk.

Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis to seek Haldimand-Norfolk nomination

Lawyer and rookie politician from Toronto chooses safe rural riding for House of Commons bid, but not all locals are pleased

OPEN DIGITAL ACCESS Sep 15, 2020 Hamilton Spectator

After a unexpectedly strong showing in the federal Conservative leadership race, Leslyn Lewis is betting on the people of Haldimand-Norfolk to usher her into the House of Commons.

Lewis, a lawyer and rookie politician from Toronto, exceeded expectations by finishing third in the national leadership contest while also garnering the most votes from party members in several Ontario ridings.

On Tuesday, she announced that she intends to seek the party nomination in Haldimand-Norfolk and represent the Conservatives on the ballot whenever the next election is called.

“Haldimand-Norfolk is a beautiful place with the most amazing, hardworking people. It would be an absolute honour to represent them and fight to make their lives better,” Lewis said in a statement announcing her candidacy.

Lewis is a social conservative who campaigned on pro-life policies. She favours tax credits for home and business renovations over taxing carbon to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

She has the backing of outgoing MP Diane Finley, who announced in August that she would not seek re-election after representing Haldimand-Norfolk for 16 years.

“Leslyn has shown time and again that she is hardworking and passionate, just like the people here in Haldimand-Norfolk,” Finley said in a statement.

“Not only has she proven with each conversation that she is knowledgeable about the issues that matter most to our community, but the way that she connects with people makes me confident that she would represent us incredibly well. I offer Leslyn my full support.”

During the leadership race, Lewis rose from relative political obscurity to win the most votes on the first ballot in Haldimand-Norfolk and Brantford-Brant. She captured the popular vote nationally on the second ballot.

Former Conservative MPP Phil Gillies, who represented Brantford in the 1980s, said Lewis would be “a formidable candidate” in Haldimand-Norfolk.

“Leslyn Lewis is very straightforward and I like that,” said Murray Porteous, a retired Norfolk farmer and Conservative riding association board member who praised Lewis’ “common sense approach on issues.”

Lewis’ family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica when she was five. She has a master’s degree in environmental studies and a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School.

“To me, if you want to get things done and do them well, you need courage, compassion and common sense,” Lewis said. “That’s what I will bring to the table as the Conservative candidate for Haldimand-Norfolk.”

The party’s riding association will still hold a nomination process, giving other Conservatives the opportunity to run against Lewis. Former association president Dustin Wakeford says it’s very likely a local challenger will emerge.

“I don’t know anybody who’s happy about this. Almost every single Tory I talk to, they don’t like the idea,” Wakeford said. “They don’t want somebody who’s not from this area. They resent somebody being parachuted in.”

Wakeford, who publicly backed eventual winner Erin O’Toole for party leader, said Lewis’ social conservative views resonated in some areas of Haldimand but might not play well across the whole riding, which he said leans more toward fiscal conservatism.

“The demographics of the riding are changing,” Wakeford said, pointing to an influx of urbanites leaving the Greater Toronto Area to resettle in Norfolk. “I think at least the social aspects of the area are becoming more liberal.”

The Lewis campaign said she is currently house-hunting in the riding, and her campaign announcement touched on local issues she wants to address, such as gun control, broadband internet access and illegal marijuana grow-ops.

J.P. Antonacci’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows him to report on stories about the regions of Haldimand and Norfolk.

Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis to seek Haldimand-Norfolk nomination

Lawyer and rookie politician from Toronto chooses safe rural riding for House of Commons bid, but not all locals are pleased

OPEN DIGITAL ACCESS Sep 15, 2020 Hamilton Spectator

After a unexpectedly strong showing in the federal Conservative leadership race, Leslyn Lewis is betting on the people of Haldimand-Norfolk to usher her into the House of Commons.

Lewis, a lawyer and rookie politician from Toronto, exceeded expectations by finishing third in the national leadership contest while also garnering the most votes from party members in several Ontario ridings.

On Tuesday, she announced that she intends to seek the party nomination in Haldimand-Norfolk and represent the Conservatives on the ballot whenever the next election is called.

“Haldimand-Norfolk is a beautiful place with the most amazing, hardworking people. It would be an absolute honour to represent them and fight to make their lives better,” Lewis said in a statement announcing her candidacy.

Lewis is a social conservative who campaigned on pro-life policies. She favours tax credits for home and business renovations over taxing carbon to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

She has the backing of outgoing MP Diane Finley, who announced in August that she would not seek re-election after representing Haldimand-Norfolk for 16 years.

“Leslyn has shown time and again that she is hardworking and passionate, just like the people here in Haldimand-Norfolk,” Finley said in a statement.

“Not only has she proven with each conversation that she is knowledgeable about the issues that matter most to our community, but the way that she connects with people makes me confident that she would represent us incredibly well. I offer Leslyn my full support.”

During the leadership race, Lewis rose from relative political obscurity to win the most votes on the first ballot in Haldimand-Norfolk and Brantford-Brant. She captured the popular vote nationally on the second ballot.

Former Conservative MPP Phil Gillies, who represented Brantford in the 1980s, said Lewis would be “a formidable candidate” in Haldimand-Norfolk.

“Leslyn Lewis is very straightforward and I like that,” said Murray Porteous, a retired Norfolk farmer and Conservative riding association board member who praised Lewis’ “common sense approach on issues.”

Lewis’ family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica when she was five. She has a master’s degree in environmental studies and a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School.

“To me, if you want to get things done and do them well, you need courage, compassion and common sense,” Lewis said. “That’s what I will bring to the table as the Conservative candidate for Haldimand-Norfolk.”

The party’s riding association will still hold a nomination process, giving other Conservatives the opportunity to run against Lewis. Former association president Dustin Wakeford says it’s very likely a local challenger will emerge.

“I don’t know anybody who’s happy about this. Almost every single Tory I talk to, they don’t like the idea,” Wakeford said. “They don’t want somebody who’s not from this area. They resent somebody being parachuted in.”

Wakeford, who publicly backed eventual winner Erin O’Toole for party leader, said Lewis’ social conservative views resonated in some areas of Haldimand but might not play well across the whole riding, which he said leans more toward fiscal conservatism.

“The demographics of the riding are changing,” Wakeford said, pointing to an influx of urbanites leaving the Greater Toronto Area to resettle in Norfolk. “I think at least the social aspects of the area are becoming more liberal.”

The Lewis campaign said she is currently house-hunting in the riding, and her campaign announcement touched on local issues she wants to address, such as gun control, broadband internet access and illegal marijuana grow-ops.

J.P. Antonacci’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows him to report on stories about the regions of Haldimand and Norfolk.