David Orchard
The 1998 PC Leadership Race
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Transcript of David Orchard's press conference in Ottawa Friday, October 30, 1998

Bonjour, mesdames & messieurs. Most of my presentation today will be in English, but I will strive to answer your questions in French afterwards. There have been recent developments in the campaign for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party which have brought me here today.

Two of my rivals in the race have withdrawn their names " Mr. Pallister and Mr. Segal " and I would like to congratulate them on a hard-fought and lively race and for the new blood which they brought into the party.

That now leaves the membership with two choices on November 14th: Mr. Clark and myself. This will give the membership a clear choice on a number of issues.

On the constitutional question, Mr. Clark believes in a "community of communities", as he calls it. I do not. Mr. Clark was one of the architects of the Charlottetown Accord. I opposed that agreement. It is now quite clear that Mr. Clark intends to reopen that process should he achieve the leadership of this Party. I think that the last thing this country needs is to reopen the Constitutional debate and I stand opposed to that course of action. We need to have an effective national government in this country and we're not going to have it by devolving all of its power off to the provinces and regions, which is, of course, why I opposed Charlottetown.

On the question of the economy, Mr. Clark praises the Liberals for their policies of globalization and free trade with the United States. I do not, obviously. I believe the Liberals are selling out our nation, our heritage and our sovereignty, and I stand against the course they are taking economically in terms of locking us into the U.S. market. Under my leadership, we will build industries in this country which will give employment, pride and dignity to every Canadian.

I've been accused of being anti-trade. There's nothing further from the truth. Canada is a trading nation and always has been. I'm a farmer from Saskatchewan and no one needs to tell a Saskatchewan grain farmer about the importance of trade and trade around the world. I have opposed NAFTA and the Free Trade Agreement for specific provisions those agreements contain, namely the provisions which allow American corporations to sue Canada and overturn any law or regulation in this country that they don't like and receive compensation for doing so. The provisions which give American corporations greater rights than Canadian investors. The provisions about energy that give American companies and the United States first say on our energy reserves even if we're short in this country. And the provisions, of course, which allow the takeover of Canadian corporations all across this country. Those are the provisions which I stand opposed to. Incidentally, my position on free trade with the United States is exactly the same position that Mr. Clark had in 1983 when he and Brian Mulroney warned that free trade was a danger to Canadian sovereignty and that it would cost thousands of jobs. Mr. Clark has changed his position on free trade. I have not.

On foreign policy, I want to see Canada play a much stronger, a prouder and a more independent role on the world stage than Mr. Clark....

Those are some of the clear differences between the two of us. On the question of the Conservative Party itself, I have signed up thousands of new members into the Conservative Party, brought new blood and new energy, and more are calling our Campaign every day seeking to join the Conservative Party. Mr. Clark's response has been to call me a tourist in the Conservative Party. I am astonished that anyone seeking to lead a party in fifth place in Canada would label the membership of the Party in that way. If the Conservative Party hopes to defeat the Liberals and take power in this country, we are going to have to broaden the base and bring in new members, new life, new energy and new blood. That's exactly what we've done. We cannot, in my view, bring the Party to power by attacking those new members that came into the Party. That's not the way to build any political party that hopes to take power in this country, let alone a party that wants to defeat the Liberals The new membership that we've brought into the Party has brought a life and a momentum and an energy which, under my leadership, could sweep the Liberals from office in the very next election. That's what I intend to do with the Conservative Party.

On all of these issues there is a clear difference between Mr. Clark and myself. And I challenge Mr. Clark to an open debate in the next two weeks so that all of the members and all Canadians can see the differences on these issues and so that there can be an informed choice at the end of the day.

I believe that under my leadership the old glory of the Party could come back and the Party can once again become the party of national destiny. I do not believe the Conservative Party can take power in this country under the old leadership that led it to the debacle in 1993 which Canadians rejected so decisively. I believe we have to have new faces and new leadership, and I offer myself in that role.

Some have said, Mr. Orchard, you're not a real Conservative. Well, was Mr. Trudeau a real Liberal when he joined the Liberal Party and swept the country in 1968? Had he not been closer to the CCF, the NDP? Is Ralph Klein a real Conservative? I thought he came to the Conservative Party from the ranks of the Liberals. Is John Crosbie a real Conservative? Didn't he run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland, fail and come to the Conservative Party and bring his century-old Liberal ideas of free trade with the United States into the Conservative Party which had opposed them for a hundred years? There's an election raging in Quebec. The leader of the Liberal Party there, is he a real Liberal? Was he a real Conservative six months ago? I think these distinctions are, if I may say so, nonsense. In fact, in some ways I may turn out to be more Tory than anyone else in this race in the sense of taking this Party back to its traditions and building on those foundations of traditional Conservatism in this country. For the record, the only political party I have ever belonged to is the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

There have also been many reports that Mr. Orchard is being financed by environmental groups and unions. I checked with all of our organizers across the country and we have not received a single penny of funds from any union or environmental organization in this country. No union has given us their list. No union has given us any organizers whatsoever nor has any environmental organization. Our race, our campaign has been driven by the ordinary Canadians that have flocked in from all across this country. There has been no union support whatsoever. So, it's just a question of setting the record straight on that.

There has been a lot of talk that Mr. Orchard is going to prolong the cost of the leadership race and drive the Conservative Party even deeper into debt. Well, each candidate pays all of their own expenses in this race. The Conservative Party has paid not a penny of my expenses. My trip to Ottawa here today, this press conference, it's not paid by the Conservative Party, it's paid for out of our pockets. Not only that, for every $100 each candidate spends, we are required to give 15% in the form of a tax, like a double GST, if you will. This is what we all do each time we spend any money. So we have a situation where the more money a candidate spends, the more money the Conservative Party gets. In addition, we each plunked down $30,000 for the privilege of entering this race. In addition, I have brought thousands of new members into the Party. Every one of them has paid $10 to the Party. That $10 did not go to David Orchard or to David Orchard's campaign; it went into the coffers of the Conservative Party of Canada. So those who are now pleading poverty are really talking about shortcutting democracy in a way that does not ring true.

We've had one ballot in this race so far. How many ballots did it take Joe Clark to win the leadership in 1976? Did it not take four ballots for Mr. Mulroney to win in 1983? That's the process we're embarked on. And I was stunned yesterday to hear my rival, Hugh Segal, say he was withdrawing from the race because Joe Clark had asked him to withdraw so that Mr. Clark could be more effective against Mr. Orchard. I am stunned that Mr. Clark would ask that and I am equally stunned that Mr. Segal would acquiesce. This is democracy in action we have right now. There's a process that we're involved in, that the Conservative Party leadership calls for, and that's for the leader to be selected by 50% + 1 of the vote. If that's not achieved, then a second ballot on November 14th. And I'm in for the second ballot on Nov. 14th. Thank you very much.

CTV NEWS: Mr. Orchard, I talked to a couple of Tory MPs yesterday about your decision to stay on. One of them said that you're grandstanding, the other said you simply don't know when to quit.

DAVID ORCHARD: Well I think that's probably right that I don't know when to quit because I don't intend to quit 'til I've won the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. I'm not in this race to get publicity or to make a point or to carry on about some pet peeve or another; I'm in this race to win the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. I do not believe that the Conservatives can take back power away from the Liberals if they say "me too" to the Liberals on globalization; "me too" on reopening the finest Constitution in the world. I think we have to have a new face in this race and that's why I'm in it to take the Conservative Party back to power.

CBC RADIO (ANTHONY GERMAINE): Mr. Orchard, a few moments ago you challenged Mr. Clark to a renewed debate but my understanding is that the Party is basically going into hibernation for the next two weeks. The only event scheduled is the November 14th vote. There will be no debates, no final speeches, nothing. What responsibility do you believe the Party has to schedule some sort of leadership event before the 14th?

DAVID ORCHARD: I think the Party has a responsibility to schedule a full debate and another speech night before the vote exactly as I understood would be the case if there was no victor on the first ballot. But even if the Party doesn't want to do that, it doesn't matter, the news organizations here at any time can issue an invitation and have a real debate in this country. I understand that some of the news organizations have already done that and Mr. Clark has said "no" throughout this race to any real debate. I've said all the way along, let's have a debate outside of the Party auspices, a real debate sponsored by one of the news organizations in this country, questions put to us so that the voters and the membership of the Party can hear both sides. And if Mr. Clark wants to run away from that it says something about his views about the membership...

RADIO CANADA: Mr. Orchard, a question in French. Are you asking Mr. Clark to participate in an official structured debate with you? Do you think the Party failed in its responsibilities because it didn't organize anything for the second ballot?

DAVID ORCHARD:: Yes, I'm asking Mr. Clark to participate in a formal debate. It's not necessary to have a debate within the auspices of the Conservative Party, we could do it with the media, with the large media chains throughout Canada, [they] could organize a debate on television, for example. I'm telling Mr. Clark that it's his responsibility to participate in a debate with me because there are only two candidates remaining in the race. As far as the Conservative Party is concerned, I think the Party does have a responsibility to continue the race right to the end. We're not at the end yet. It's not over. We have to continue the race 'til the finish line on November the 14th.

RADIO CANADA: Our question is whether or not you've made your point already and what is it that you hope to achieve in the next two weeks to defeat Mr. Clark that you haven't been able to achieve in all the weeks and months up until now?

DAVID ORCHARD:DO: What is my point do you think?

Q: That you outlined at the outset of this press conference....

DO: I'm not in this race to make a point to anyone. I'm in this race to win the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. I don't believe the Conservative Party can win unless their leader is substantially different than Mr. Mulroney and what has been. I think Canadians spoke very clearly in 1993 about that. I represent a new vision based on solid foundations for the Conservative Party. That's the winning combination and I think my candidacy, the kind of response that it's had all across the country from Baie Vert, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C., literally thousands of people coming into the Party. We got phone calls from as far away as Denver, Colorado, people saying they were going to drive all the way up to Canada to cast a vote for me in the leadership race. That has struck a chord and an interest that could take the Conservative Party to victory. That's what I intend to do.

Q: And the other part of the question was, what do you think you can accomplish in the next few weeks that you haven't accomplished up until now?

DAVID ORCHARD: Much more of what we've already accomplished. I haven't yet won the leadership of the Party and that's what has to happen on the 14th of November.

REPORTER (FRENCH LANGUAGE MEDIA): You state that you're in the race until the end and you're not only there for a cause, what will you do after November 14th if you're not elected, will you remain a member of the Party?

DAVID ORCHARD: Yes. My intention is to change the direction taken by the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party must become a truly conservative party, in my mind. But after November 14th, it depends on the response given by Mr. Clark, by the attitude he shows. If Mr. Clark says Mr. Orchard's ideas don't have a place in the Party, the ideas of D'Arcy McGee, Georges Etienne-Cartier, John A. Macdonald, the ideas of these men who founded the Party don't have a place in the Party, it would be very difficult for me at that point and for people who are following me. Mr. Clark says, yes, it's clear that Mr. Orchard's views represent a substantial part of the population and a significant part of the Conservative Party and they will be taken into consideration and then, of course, I'm in for the long haul. But, just to repeat in English what I said in French, if Mr. Clark were to say there's no place in the Conservative Party for the ideas of John A. Macdonald or Robert Borden, John Diefenbaker, those are men of the past; they warned us about the dangers of free trade but it doesn't matter, they wanted to have a strong central government but times have changed. If he's to take that point of view and totally reject everything I stand for, then it would be difficult for me in the Party, obviously, and for those who vote for me.

LE DEVOIR: Mr. Orchard, I'm trying to understand the answer you gave to Bill. In some ridings you're not even on the radar screens; in some ridings, nobody voted for you. You can't recruit new members, all the other candidates have decided to support, if not only, at least in the back rooms, to support Mr. Clark. How do you expect to win against Mr. Clark. What gives you the impression that you could win?

DAVID ORCHARD: The ballot on November 14th is a completely new ballot. It's a whole new ball game. The October ballot now is simply an opinion poll. It's a new race with only two candidates, Mr. Clark and Mr. Orchard. Anything is possible because we got people's attention and many members didn't vote the last time, they could vote on the second ballot. And people who voted for Mr. Segal, for Mr. Pallister, now who will they vote for? It's a new race.

Q: Well you'll need 100% of their votes to win. You'd need all their votes to win. You can't hope for that.

DAVID ORCHARD: The vote of October 24th has no more relevance than a poll today. Now we're in a brand new race which has two candidates in it and the membership can choose between one or the other. The fact that Mr. Clark got 48% in the old vote does not indicate what he will get in the new vote. There are many members of the Conservative Party who did not vote. We're going to appeal to them to vote, of course. And then there's all of the other, the supporters of Mr. Clark, Mr. Segal, [Mr. Pallister], and Mr. Fortier whose votes are now open and I hope that they will consider David Orchard.

GLOBE AND MAIL (HUGH WINDSOR): Mr. Orchard, you're trying to convince us that you're sufficiently committed to the Conservative Party that you want to become its leader. How can we take that commitment seriously if you have never run for the federal party or the provincial party in any election nor taken any part in any previous party activity?

DAVID ORCHARD: What party had Mr. Mulroney run for before he ran for the leadership? What party had Mr. Trudeau run for before he ran for the leadership? You mentioned the provincial party; as you probably know, the Conservative Party in Saskatchewan doesn't exist. It disbanded itself because it has so many of its members behind bars in Saskatchewan. (Laughter) And that's exactly where I did start, right in Saskatchewan, I kicked off my campaign in a little schoolhouse where John Diefenbaker attended in 1906 and which I attended as a kid as well, because I want to clean up this Party and put it back on the national stage. You're right that I hadn't run for a political party, that may be, in our day and age, a benefit actually. But on the other hand, I have built a national organization in terms of Citizens Concerned About Free Trade, for fourteen years built it from scratch without a cent of government money, built it into a national organization across Canada so there's a little bit of organizational skill involved in all of that and as you know, I've written a book about Canada's history which is going to be launched next week in Montreal actually, under the French title, (Out of the Talons of the Eagle).

CBC TELEVISION (ERIC SORENSON): You said that, you've talked about a groundswell of support and people flocking to you but I mean, the total vote for you was 7,000, 8% of the membership and I don't know how many zeros after the decimal point that would be of actual voters in Canada. Does this not speak less to groundswell of support for you and more to just the state of the Tory Party that one person can come in and by organizing well enough to get a few thousand votes, you're actually going to finish second in the race, doesn't that speak more to the state of the Party itself?

DAVID ORCHARD: No it speaks to the kind of life and energy it took ~ the other candidates you know, they talked a great deal about cutting the deficit and cutting and slashing and making do with more [less?]. Well there hasn't been a candidate in this race that's run a more cost-effective race than we have. We've run our race on a fraction of what my rivals have done. I know all about the power of the dollar, my parents came through the dirty thirties on the farm in Saskatchewan, so that's the kind of race that we've run. But what we've struck is that chord across the country, in the last days before the cut-off of memberships, there were a thousand memberships a day coming into our office in Toronto. That's the kind of chord that was struck. And, of course, we've had hundreds and hundreds of phone calls since, people saying, am I too late to join? I'd be curious as to whether are phoning Mr. Clark's campaign to ask if they're too late to join. This has struck a chord. People are saying, at last, there's a chance to take the Party out of the hands of the back rooms and put it in the hands of Canadians again. I think it's a very significant development that we could start from scratch and build our membership into that kind of a force.

Q: Just one quick follow-up. Given that you know what Mr. Clark's policies are, if Mr. Clark wins can you support him and stay in the Party and work within with Mr. Clark if he wins on November the 14th?

DAVID ORCHARD: Well, I answered that question earlier. If Mr. Clark was to say to the country and to David Orchard that it's clear that you represent something significant in this Party. We are going to take a look again at the Free Trade Agreement. Look at what has been the impact on Canada of the Free Trade Agreement. Look at whether it's been good for the country or not and then we will develop our policy based on that study. If Mr. Clark were to take that kind of an approach, then of course, I'm in it as I said for the long haul. If, on the other hand, Mr. Clark is to dismiss Mr. Orchard and all of those who voted for him as "tourists" in the Party and go back to the policies that he carried out in Cabinet with Mr. Mulroney. Well, it would be difficult for me to continue on that basis.

OTTAWA CITIZEN (NORMA GREENAWAY): You said you'd run a very cost-effective campaign, well how much did you spend because one of the reasons that Mr. Segal said, he did say that Joe Clark asked him to get out but he also said that it would cost him another $100,000 to stay in the race and he couldn't win. So how much have you spent and how much is this last stretch going to cost you?

DAVID ORCHARD: Do you think Mr. Segal is going to have trouble raising another $100,000? The whole question of money in this race, we have just submitted a cheque this morning to the Conservative Party, if I understand, for some $11,000 more, that's the 15% dues they're charging us. I don't have the totals in front of me but I suspect that we've probably spent around a quarter of a million dollars, probably $250,000.

SUN NEWS (ANN DAWSON): Mr. Orchard, you commented on media ownership recently, a few minutes ago, but you were very vague, it was rather lame, you just said it was unhealthy. If you are to win the leadership of the Tory Party and you are to go on and be the Prime Minister of this country, what would you do about media ownership and specifically, the new one that was announced yesterday or the day before yesterday.

DAVID ORCHARD: Well I'm not up on the new one, I don't know if the new one's been completed or not yet but I'm not up on the details there. But we would have to take a look at those and a whole number of other policies. I've come out publicly against these bank mergers. I don't think they're good for the country and I also don't think it's good to simply have one or two publishers of our media in this country. But there would have to be a serious study to look at that and the Party, we'd have to take a look if it's going to change its policy on that.

REPORTER (FRENCH LANGUAGE MEDIA): I just wanted to know, you said that if Mr. Clark said there's no room for the policy of John A. Macdonald and Georges Etienne-Cartier, maybe there's no room for you. Do you think that on the verge of the third millennium that maybe people can go a bit forward and evolve since those times or do you still stick to what they were promoting. It's like you're closed to change.

DAVID ORCHARD: You know when Mr. Trudeau spoke out against the Charlottetown Accord he was condemned roundly for being a man of the past who couldn't change and his reply was "Pythagoras was a man of the past but two plus two still equals four." And we've got a similar situation in Canada. There are certain truths that are timeless. We live next door to the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth, if we don't look after our own interests, we're going to be absorbed by that nation. That's what we're seeing happen. The Americanization of all aspects of our society. The Wall Street Journal calling on Canada to adopt the U.S. dollar as the common currency for North America, the North American Free Trade zone. This is the kind of push towards assimilation of our nation into the United States that John A. Macdonald warned about, Georges Etienne-Cartier warned about. Those men were right. I'm not stuck in the past in any way shape or form. I want to take our Party ahead; build real industries in this country that give every Canadian employment and dignity. That can be done. I'm not stuck in the past in any way except that I don't want to see an unemployment rate of 8 or 10% in our country. I don't want to see our country absorbed into our neighbour. I don't want us to have a satellite status on the world stage. Those are certain things that are timeless and I stand for those. But I want to move us ahead into the new millenium, of course, but based on solid foundations.

CBC RADIO (ANTHONY GERMAINE): Mr. Orchard, you talk about the grassroots nature of your campaign and having followed you since April from St. John, New Brunswick to B.C., everywhere I went, I met New Democrats, people who I knew were New Democrats, card-carrying members, who paid the membership fee to join this Party simply to vote for you because of your stance on free trade. Why don't you get on the phone to Alexa McDonagh and say if this Tory leadership doesn't work out the way I want, I'm interested in bringing thousands of members to the NDP and to revitalize the anti-free trade argument in the one party that seems to stand for what it is that you represent.

DAVID ORCHARD: The New Democratic Party does not stand for what I represent. The New Democratic Party, as I understand it, is calling for us to seize the opportunities of globalization. The premier of my province is praising NAFTA. He's now embarked on a new Meech Lake number three to take away the powers of the central government and extend them off to the provinces so I don't see much commonality there. I'm happy that you met members of the Conservative Party supporting me across the country. That's exactly what happened in 1957, '58, when Diefenbaker swept the country, most NDP supporters voted for Mr. Diefenbaker. I want to get NDP supporters to vote for the Conservative Party, Liberal supporters, Reform Party supporters and Bloc Quebecois supporters to vote for the Conservative Party. That's the only way this Party's going to come back into power. And those are the kinds of people who are in my campaign, people who voted Reform, people who have voted Bloc Quebecois; people who have voted Liberal; people who have voted for the Green Party and people who have voted for the New Democratic Party. And they're all welcome to build the momentum to take this Party to victory. As well, of course, there are old Tories and new Tories and disillusioned Tories who have come back to the Party under my campaign.

CTV NEWS: Mr. Orchard, if you were leader of the Conservative Party, would you accept Preston Manning's invitation to talk about a united alternative?

DAVID ORCHARD: No. There's no need to accept Preston Manning's [invitation]. The Reform Party is a spent force in this country. The vacuum in this country, politically, is not way out on the right wing and for the Conservative Party to, the Reform Party always gets me upset (laughter); but for the Conservative Party to marry up with the Reform Party, Preston Manning to me is the kiss of death. The vacuum is right where John Diefenbaker found it in '57, '58, right in the centre or even the centre left of our political spectrum. He came up the left side of the Liberals in '57 when they were giving away the Trans-Canada pipeline to the Americans. That's the vacuum. The Liberals, in my view, have moved fatally to the right in this country and if this Party under my leadership went back to the centre of the stage, we would sweep the country. We wouldn't need to have anything to do with Preston Manning. And I think the victory that I had in this race across the west, I took 29 of the 34 seats in British Columbia; 9 of them in Saskatchewan. I topped the poll in 41 of the ridings across the country and came second in Toronto and got 12 percent of the vote in Montreal. That, to me, says something that the Party under my leadership would regain and resweep the west and I think Reform would return to a footnote of history.

REPORTER: The thought occurred that given that nobody, perhaps I'm wrong but very few people in this room , if any, believe that Joe Clark is going to adopt your principles as you see them, have you thought about starting a more party-like organization than your [anti-] free trade campaigning organizations?

DAVID ORCHARD: I've joined the Conservative Party. It's very Party-like and I want to take victory of the Conservative Party and take the Conservative Party to power in Ottawa so we can build a Canada that's in Canadians interests. That's my goal at this time. My only goal.

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