Imprint (University of Waterloo student paper), March 4, 2005
Canadian identity at forefront
David Orchard visits UW to speak on upholding
By Rebecca Temmer - Imprint staff
Like most Canadians, David Orchard doesn't want to
see Canada become the fifty-first state. The prominent
Canadian politician is currently touring southern
Ontario and stopped at UW on Tuesday evening to speak to
students and community members.
Orchard is probably best known for his campaign in
May 2003 for the federal Progressive Conservative Party
leadership. During the race, he agreed to support his
competitor Peter MacKay on the condition that the PC
party would not merge with the Canadian Alliance Party
(if MacKay won). MacKay went on to clinch the leadership
and by October had reneged on the agreement — officially
terminating the party Sir John A. McDonald belonged to
at the time of Confederation.
Having given up on the new Canadian Conservative
Party, David is now a self-proclaimed political "orphan"
and is back to where he started in politics — trying to
ensure that Canada remains a sovereign nation.
Orchard was invited to speak at the university by the
newly formed UW Green Party Club.
"David's message is very compatible with the Green
Party message," said Darcy Higgins, the club's
president. Several local Green Party enthusiasts even
extended an invitation for David to join their party but
he declined, saying he's still shopping around.
It was 1985 when Orchard first ventured off his
organic farm in Borden, Saskatchewan to begin the
organization Citizens Concerned about Free Trade,
responding to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
After the FTA came the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), which he is currently campaigning
against and has been for the past 11 years.
Orchard started off the evening by giving the crowd a
quick history lesson that was full of anecdotes —
apparently Canadian railway tracks are 10 inches wider
than American tracks so that US troop cars couldn't use
them to invade our country.
Most of Orchard's presentation, however, can be
summed up by the title of his new national bestseller
The Fight for Canada: Four centuries of resistance to
American expansionism. "Certainly we need trade with the
country south of us," he said. "I just don't want to
become a part of that country."
The talk moved to an explanation of his perspective
on what free trade has done to Canada and how he would
go about fixing it. Orchard's solutions ranged from
developing a domestic film and movie industry to
reintroducing shipbuilding to our Maritime provinces to
supporting organic agriculture.
Orchard spent the second hour entertaining questions
and comments from the audience in the comfortably filled
lecture hall. One student challenged Orchard's concerns
over the removal of the foreign investment cap for RRSPs
in the new federal budget, citing a statistic he'd read
in a newspaper recently.
This sparked an interesting round of debate on the
control of the conventional media by large corporate
interests and the role of independent media in informing
A number of people were also concerned with the
plight of the Canadian farming community, which Orchard
spoke passionately about, citing farming as his "real"
At the end of the night, Orchard stayed for more than
an hour after the lecture to talk to audience members
and sign books.
To learn more about David Orchard and his campaign to
save Canada check out his website at