Victoria Times Colonist, December 13, 2002
Leadership Candidate for Tories Addresses Canadian
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
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
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.