Globe and Mail, October 5, 2006
Mr. Orchard wronged
by Christopher Thomas
Victoria -- Jeffrey Simpson's sketch of David Orchard
as a "flaky, marginal political figure" who is "hardly
the kind of ally" Liberal leadership contender Stéphane
Dion should be courting certainly differs from my
reading of both men (Handicaps
Are Hobbling All The Liberal Candidates -- Oct. 3).
Mr. Orchard, a forceful Canadian nationalist, is an
experienced organic farmer from Saskatchewan who adjusts
his speaking schedule to seed and harvest time.
He placed second* in the last Progressive
Conservative leadership race; the betrayal of his
agreement with Peter MacKay and Mr. MacKay's subsequent
surrender to the Canadian Alliance Party remain a
scandalous episode in recent Canadian political history
that not all of us have forgotten.
And Mr. Orchard's recent move to the Liberals, far
from being mere whimsicality, stems from his desire to
remain active in pragmatic politics while at the same
time refusing to support Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
Canadians are perhaps more attracted to the ethical
and intellectual examples men like Mr. Orchard and Mr.
Dion present than we are to the sorts of candidates Bay
Street, Rosedale and major newspapers and broadcasters
think would give Canada sophistication on the world
*David Orchard came into the 2003 PC
Party leadership convention with the second largest
number of delegates. He finished third and went on to
support Peter MacKay after receiving a written promise
from MacKay that he would not merge the PC Party with
the Canadian Alliance.