Canadian Press (The Pembroke Daily Observer), December 2, 2006
Orchard ready to spook Dion's opponents
by Nelson Wyatt
MONTREAL -- He's the ghost who has haunted political
conventions past. Few have seen him but everyone knows
And David Orchard, who failed in two runs at the
Progressive Conservative leadership but is renowned as
an organizational wizard, is hoping his help will be
fruitful for Stephane Dion's run at the Liberal
The fourth-generation farmer from Borden, Sask, and
the Quebec-born former environment minister have teamed
up at the leadership convention -- a contest everyone
agrees will be decided by who has the best ground game.
And there are few who can execute the ground game like
Chatting up a delegate after the policy, Orchard
seemed more a soft-spoken banker than a
blackberry-wielding organizational colossus. "I'm
working hard to help elect Stephane Dion as the leader,"
Orchard first gained notice as a stinging opponent of
free trade. Since then his organizational skills have
become legendary. He's not resting on his laurels at the
Liberal convention and finding him is almost like a
political game of Where's Waldo.
He's at the convention centre, says one Dion worker.
He's at the hotels. Or maybe down that corridor. Someone
sees him coming out of a policy workshop. One worker,
when asked where Orchard might be found, furrows his
"He's pretty fluid," says the man in the bright
Orchard came out of nowhere to place second to Joe
Clark in the 1998 Progressive Conservative leadership
race. He had the second highest number of delegates to
the 2003 Progressive Conservative leadership convention.
He ended up giving them to Peter MacKay and
regretting it. Orchard didn't want MacKay to merge the
Progressive Conservatives with Stephen Harper's Canadian
Alliance. MacKay ignored their hastily scrawled
agreement and did it anyway.