David Orchard
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Victoria Times Colonist, December 13, 2002

by Darren Stewart

David Orchard hopes his no-nonsense stance on Canadian sovereignty, which he will outline in Victoria next week, will capture the support of Progressive Conservative party members, and then the support of Canadian voters.

The anti-free-trade activist, author and organic farmer from Saskatchewan will host an event at Camosun College called 'Canadian Sovereignty in a Global World,' next Tuesday. It is part of Orchard's speaking tour to garner support for his campaign to replace Joe Clark, but he said he also hopes to discuss this issue, which he feels is one of the most important facing Canadians.

Orchard placed a distant second to Clark in the race to lead the party in 1998. His chances this time around aren't clear. No big-name political stars have stepped forward to express interest in the position. The new leader will be chosen at a party convention next May.

Orchard said he believes that only the Tories have a shot at taking over government from the Liberals.

"We are the only other party with the reach in Canada that could enable us to form government," he said. "The Alliance and the NDP have certainly never proved they have a broad enough base."

Orchard said that Canada's foreign policy, foreign ownership of its companies, and discussion about adopting the U.S. dollar are all serious threats to our national identity and quality of life. He said Canadians would be making a "mortal mistake" if they don't act now to preserve their identity.

"If Conservatives are going to reach enough Canadian voters they're going to have to take a stand on a big issue like this, with a different perspective than the Liberals," he said. "And that issue should be the defence of Canadian sovereignty."

Orchard said he's a supporter of mutually beneficial international trade but fears that the North American Free Trade Agreement hurts the Canadian economy and jeopardizes the country's independence.

He also thinks Canada should take a more active role in urging the U.S. to leave Iraq alone.

Orchard said his speaking tour has been popular because these issues resonate with Canadians.

"We had to turn 100 people away from the hall in Vancouver, there was standing room only in Montreal and we've had full houses everywhere in between."

Orchard is the author of The Fight for Canada - Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. He will host similar events Dec. 15 on Saltspring Island and Dec. 16 in Nanaimo.

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