CTV.ca, Monday, March 27
David Orchard mulls run at Liberal leadership
OTTAWA -- Saskatchewan farmer and two-time Tory
leadership hopeful David Orchard is thinking about
leaping into the Liberal race.
"What I'm really doing right now is taking calls. I
certainly had not been considering it, but calls kept
coming so I kept answering them and listening to what
people have to say,'' Orchard said in an interview.
"I'm not ruling anything in or anything out.''
Orchard ran twice for the leadership of the
Progressive Conservative party, where he was regarded as
an outsider -- but a powerful one.
His last kick at the Conservative can saw him come a
strong second to Peter MacKay. His support on the final
ballot in exchange for a guarantee of no merger with
Stephen Harper's Alliance secured MacKay's victory.
When the Progressive Conservatives merged with the
Canadian Alliance, Orchard found a new political home
with the Liberals. He took out a Liberal membership
before the last election.
Anyone who dismisses Orchard as a dreamer does so at
their own peril.
Orchard proved in his time with the Progressive
Conservatives that he has a strong, loyal following
across Canada that turns out to vote at convention time.
"One of the very prominent Liberals recently told me
that there isn't a Liberal in the country that has a
database of 30,000 names like you do,'' Orchard said.
Still, he expressed reservations over the short
lead-up time to the convention. The cut-off for selling
memberships to would-be supporters is late June.
Orchard is a strong proponent of sustainable
development and strongly opposes genetically modified
foods. His organic farm, now specializing in alfalfa, is
a hugely successful operation in central Saskatchewan.
He is a self-professed defender of the Canadian
military, but did not approve of Canada's deployment to
Orchard is also bilingual, and spent the last six
weeks in Quebec City keeping his language skills intact.
He joins a growing list of potential leadership
candidates. So far, only two people, businesswoman
Martha Hall Findlay and Liberal MP John Godfrey, have
thrown their hats into the ring.