David Orchard
The 1998 PC Leadership Race
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Globe and Mail, July 23, 1998

Antifree-trade crusader joins Tory leadership race
Candidate vows to continue fight against NAFTA, globalization

By Graham Fraser

"The battle over free trade has just begun," David Orchard said yesterday, as he announced that he was submitting his formal application to be a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Mr. Orchard is the second person to declare formally by presenting the party with a $30,000 deposit and 250 signatures of nomination by party members. Hugh Segal was the first to do so last week.

Mr. Orchard, a Saskatchewan farmer and antifree-trade crusader, condemned the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chretien for what he called its abject and craven betrayal of Canadian sovereignty ... and its own repeated promises to protect our environment and deal with trade agreements. He was referring to this week's decision to withdraw a ban on the gasoline additive MMT in the face of a possible court challenge from U.S.-based Ethyl Corp.

Mr. Orchard produced copies of letters by Mr. Chretien in April, 1991, to ministers of the Tory government at the time, Don Mazankowski and Perrin Beatty, in which he called for a ban on the use of MMT, calling it a substance that threatens the health of millions of Canadians, particularly our children.

He pointed out that the Liberals had promised to renegotiate the free-trade agreement and the North American free-trade agreement, and to lead in protecting the environment, Mr. Orchard told reporters. The Liberals under Jean Chretien promised to end Brian Mulroney's sellouts; instead, they have escalated them. For the first time in a multilateral trade agreement in history, NAFTA gave foreign corporations the right to sue the Canadian government directly if they feel any law or regulation in this country contravenes NAFTA and causes them loss or damage.

Mr. Orchard also noted that only foreign corporations were given this right to sue the Canadian government.

"I have said for over a decade that these agreements give greater rights to American corporations and citizens in Canada than to Canadian citizens themselves," he said. "We've just seen a dramatic example of exactly that. Ethyl Corp. of Virginia has just succeeded, not only in undermining a Canadian law, but in completely reversing it and in forcing the Canadian government to sign a document that their product is not a threat to environmental health or human health and to pay them almost $20-million in compensation."

Mr. Orchard is a fourth-generation farmer who moved from chemical to organic farming in 1975. He was active in the campaign against the free-trade agreement in 1988, and is the author of the book The Fight For Canada.

He said the MMT case highlights one of the key reasons he decided to seek the Tory leadership. "I feel the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of so-called globalization -- which, in Canada's case, means Americanization -- in terms of giving huge, massive powers to foreign corporations that are accountable to no one in this country."

Mr. Orchard said that he will campaign on environmental issues and against free trade and globalization. Mr. Orchard said that he was approached by Conservatives who feel the only hope for the party is to erase the Mulroney legacy and was asked to run for the leadership.

He also said that he has been endorsed by some prominent Tories. The most prominent is former party president Dalton Camp, a newspaper columnist who was a senior advisor to Mr. Mulroney.

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