Leslyn Lewis’s remarkable rise from near unknown prominence to conservative prominence in a leadership race

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On Monday, after the vote count, Lewis received praise from some prominent Conservatives.

“Diversity of voices is important in politics,” said Michelle Rempel Garner, Conservative MP for Calgary. “She has a very impressive CV and I think it’s exciting that we are attracting candidates of her caliber to the party.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who has backed O’Toole, tweeted a photo of him with Lewis early Monday morning, congratulating her on her “remarkable performance” in the race.

“Leslyn has overcome many obstacles to become an important voice in Canadian politics,” Kenney wrote.

Lewis – and for that matter, Derek Sloan, another rookie candidate – both performed well in the West. The two candidates also represented the Social-Conservative vote.

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“I don’t think anyone would disagree that the Conservatives have this old white problem,” says Ben Woodfinden, a McGill University doctoral student who has written on the role of social conservatism within the Party. conservative. “(Lewis) young, she’s a woman, she’s an immigrant, she’s quite religious, she’s a role model of the kind of person they need to attract.

Even minutes after the ballot, the Conservatives of yesterday and today were pointing out that Lewis, a black woman who immigrated to Canada from Jamaica at the age of five, could almost achieve the party leadership.

“There is a lot of optimism about me because I represent the part of the party that they may not have seen before,” Lewis told the National Post in March. “I think the Conservative Party needs to do better to reach diverse communities… people see the party as too white and too masculine, and they don’t see diverse representation.

Alberta and Saskatchewan can be counted on to vote Conservatives: Albertans elected Conservatives in every riding but one in the 2019 federal election. In Saskatchewan, voters sent 14 Conservatives – each of their seats – in Parliament, placing longtime Liberal pillar Ralph Goodale.

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