The Conservative Party’s leadership race is in the home stretch. Leslyn Lewis, who has been endorsed by Yorkton-Melville MP Cathay Wagantall, was in Yorkton to host small meetings with supporters and answer their questions.
“I have a lot of strong support here and I have quite a large voter base here. So this probably wasn’t a region I needed to come to in order to garner up support. But I came out of appreciation and thanks, to the people of Saskatchewan for just being able to look my policies, look at my values and give me an honest assessment of who I am and what I stand for. I just came basically to say thank you, and to just see the province and understand more about what their needs are from a one-on-one perspective.”
One of the things Lewis heard from the attendees at the meeting was a frustration with how the west is being treated federally. She believes that it’s time to listen to what the issues are in the prairies.
“There are real issues that are really brewing here that could lead to the fracturing of our nation. Letting just the rest of the country realize that there are issues that we have to deal with in order to keep this nation united.”
Lewis is the underdog in this race, going against established candidates such as Peter McKay and Erin O’Toole, as well as Derek Sloan. Lewis knows that she’s going against some long-established political rivals.
“It’s like a David and Goliath type of story. You have to believe in yourself and know that what you’re doing is for the greater good and just keep pushing forward, knowing that somehow things are going to unfold to equalize things. I just didn’t listen to all of the pundits who said I had no chance. I knew that I had a message and I knew that our country was at a crossroads and that message needed to be delivered. So that was my only objective, and I just kept pushing forward to make sure that message got out there and I was fortunate that it did. It resonated with people and I was able to garner that support. Like I said, if the track is long enough, I definitely know that I’ve caught up, and I’m hoping I caught up sufficiently enough to give me the victory.”
Speaking with supporters, Lewis talked about her opposition to ‘destabilizing forces’ in the country.
“I think it’s just being honest and asking ourselves if we are prepared to throw away everything we worked for as a country, and calling out those destabilizing agents. Just saying this movement, this is the outcome and this is what their intentions are, is this what we want and are we content with moving towards a socialist agenda? Are we content with, you know, destabilizing our family structure, which is, you know, a cornerstone of our society? We have to ask these real questions and we have to let people really grapple with the issues.”
This has been a difficult leadership campaign, for reasons beyond any candidate’s control, with COVID-19 making events and meeting supporters difficult. In Yorkton, for example, instead of one big gathering there were several small ones to meet supporters. Lewis said that while they couldn’t do as much in person, the campaign took the chance to use video conferencing to meet supporters, saying that she has been able to be in Vancouver one minute and Halifax the next.
With the campaign in the final days, Lewis hopes that people hear her message.
“We need to right messenger with the right message because this is a very unique time in our country’s history. We are seeing, in the last five years, a rise in regional discontent, we’ve seen issue that are about to fracture our nation, we have very serious economic issues that we have to resolve, especially post-COVID. We have environmental concerns that we have to resolve and make sure that we are good stewards of our environment. We need someone who is going to be able to deal with all of these issues in a way that unites the country and doesn’t cause any further divisions. I believe that I’m that right person.”