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MEDIA RELEASE, March 20, 2005

CONSERVATIVE PARTY STILL HOLDING ON TO DAVID ORCHARD’S LEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN DONATIONS — SIXTEEN MONTHS LATER!

The legal contract that David Orchard signed with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (now Conservative Party) when he entered the leadership race in January '03, included the proviso that all campaign donations sent to the party headquarters for processing (to give donors a tax credit receipt) would be returned to the candidate within 2 business days. He was also guaranteed a return of his refundable deposit of $15,000, as long as he fulfilled all his obligations, which he did before the end of 2003.

In December 2003, David Orchard Campaign submitted to the party over $50,000 in donations sent to him to help pay his campaign debts. This amount has never been returned to him, and neither has his $15,000 deposit.

When it was clear that the funds were being withheld by the Conservative Party without cause or due process, Orchard launched a lawsuit in late February '04 to regain what belonged to him. (See documents related to the case on www.davidorchard.com.)

The Conservative Party offered a settlement on December 17, '04 which David Orchard accepted, fully expecting to have his funds returned to him promptly. This, however, has not happened because the Conservative Party insists on a release that has nothing to do with the donations and apparently everything to do with the Conservative Party wanting to punish David Orchard further for opposing the so-called merger and trying to protect the name of the Progressive Conservative Party. (Legal documents on www.davidorchard.com.)

The Conservatives are asking the court to force Orchard to agree to their extraordinarily broad conditions of release, and Orchard's lawyer will argue that the party must abide by its offer of returning the funds (with interest and legal costs) and accept a release pertaining to the case only.


For more information, contact Marjaleena Repo, tel: 306-244-9724, mrepo@sasktel.net, http://www.davidorchard.com

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