Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Toronto Star online, Wednesday, February
1, 2006 (same story variously titled "Tory
government can't be trusted, David Orchard says" published in papers across the
Orchard lashes out at Conservatives
Stephen Harper's Conservatives are not to be trusted,
says David Orchard, the Saskatchewan farmer who insists
he was betrayed by Harper and Tory MP Peter MacKay when
Canada's two right-of-centre parties merged in 2003.
Orchard, a one-time candidate to lead the now-defunct
Progressive Conservative party, lashed out at the newly
elected government today as a judge finally put an end
to his longstanding feud with the Conservative Party of
Canada over campaign donations.
The judge ruled that Orchard cannot seek further
litigation regarding donations against the party as part
of a settlement that returns to him nearly $70,000 in
funds raised during his leadership bid.
Orchard said the federal Conservatives are in no
position to talk about ethics since MacKay reneged on
his promise that he would not merge the Canadian
Alliance party with the PCs in 2003.
He said the Tories had no authority to criticize the
outgoing Liberals of corruption and deal-breaking during
the federal election campaign.
"They were the ones that were campaigning across the
country. . . pointing the finger at the other side
saying, 'There's corruption on the other side and
they're not trustworthy, they break their deals,' "
Orchard said outside court.
"Mr. MacKay blatantly broke a written agreement with
me, and the party seized $70,000 of my funds, and so I'm
saying they're in no position to be lecturing the rest
of the political spectrum in Canada about ethics."
Orchard was in a Toronto courtroom to resolve the
final details of a December 2004 court settlement
awarding him nearly $70,000 in campaign funds. The money
was raised in 2003 as he sought to lead the Progressive
He bowed to leadership rival MacKay in exchange for a
written agreement that MacKay would not merge the Tories
with the Canadian Alliance. But after MacKay won the
leadership he reneged on his promise.
While the judge imposed a release on both parties
stating Orchard would not seek further litigation
against the Conservatives regarding the disputed funds,
it does not prevent Orchard from making other claims on
other parties, such as MacKay.
Orchard's lawyer argued for a simple declaration that
cleared the party of future claims regarding the
But lawyers for the Conservative Party wanted
assurances that no one associated with the party could
face a claim for anything done in the past, even aside
from the disputed funds.
Orchard, who abandoned the party after the merger and
supported the Liberals during the last election, said he
is still waiting for the money.
Orchard supporter George Shepherd, 60, said he never
intended for his $500 contribution to be a part of the
"Those were funds for him (Orchard) and his bid to
have leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party,"
"When I saw what happened – the manipulation and the
fraud, actually, of where the money went – I got pretty