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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

BILL BENNETT -- I sense that Leslyn Lewis has a very warm and genuine personality, and a high-principled character

Four time Kootenay - East MLA,
now retired,  Bill Bennett

Leslyn Lewis as leader allows conservatives in Canada to establish a new, and more honest, public narrative. The current narrative has it that conservatives in Canada are in a minority, meaning that leadership candidates must be "less conservative" to be successful.

Hello Mr. Peter McKay.

The media and the federal Liberals have persuaded the public that Canadians are generally "liberal" -- and that it is an aberration when the Conservatives form government. There is an implicit understanding in Canada that when Conservatives govern, their days are numbered and the Governing Party of Canada will be back soon.

Even conservatives believe this!

That narrative is very sticky and well entrenched, but in fact, wrong.

The majority of Canadians have conservative values: belief in the importance of family, hard work, natural resource development, basic fairness and equality of opportunity. While on one hand, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) establishment believes the Conservative Party must water down its conservatism, to be consistent with the public narrative mentioned above,

Leslyn Lewis is stepping forward, proud of her conservative values and is resonating with ordinary Canadians ... Canadians who did not vote Conservative last election.

She is the child of an immigrant, a mother, a highly successful and well-educated woman. She would deflect every brainless criticism of conservatism that Mr. Trudeau would hurl at the other two candidates.

In the last election, Andrew Scheer did not carry the “905” (an area code serving the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Niagara) or Quebec voters; and the ostensible reason was he was too "conservative". But if most Canadians hold these basic conservative values, why would they not vote that way?

The reason Mr. Scheer lost is because he lacks the skills and credibility as a leader to persuade urban, female, immigrant voters he shares their values.

I believe that these voters - the ultimately important swing voters - will see Leslyn as someone they can identify with, someone who shares their values. Her lack of political experience in this case is a positive. Do Conservatives really want to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Or do they want to win?

I sense that Leslyn has a very warm and genuine personality, and a high-principled character.

She needs to let Canadians see that, and that will mean some slip-ups and some speaking from the heart. Voters are okay with that. I know from experience.

Her life experience is inspiring. She is the change the Conservative Party needs, whether the Conservative establishment knows that or not.

I hope she wins, because Canada desperately needs her right now ~~  Bill Bennett

Now retired, Bill Bennett was first elected as a BC Liberal MLA to represent the riding of Kootenay East in the southeast corner of British Columbia in 2001, and re-elected in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

During his time in government ... he served as Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development; Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources; Minister of Community and Rural Development; Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts; and Minister of State for Mining.

Additionally, Mr. Bennett chaired the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services; the Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides; the B.C. Outdoor Caucus; and, the Kootenay Caucus. He was also a member of various parliamentary committees including the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth; the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations; the Select Standing Committee on Health; and the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts, along with many other government committees, particularly focused on land use and natural resource issues.

Before being elected to the BC Legislature ... he was a partner in a law firm in Cranbrook. In 1976, he earned an honours degree in English from the University of Guelph and in 1992, at the age of 42, a law degree from Queen’s University. Bill owned and operated fly-in wilderness fishing and hunting lodges in the Northwest Territories and Manitoba from 1977 to 1993. Bill served as president of the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce in 1997 and 1998, and was incoming chair of the BC Chamber of Commerce in 2000 when he made the decision to enter provincial politics. Bill was twice elected Cranbrook Business Person of the Year, and served as President of the Kootenay Bar Association.

Bill and his wife Beth married in 1974 and have two sons, Dylan and Daniel. Bill enjoys the outdoors by hunting, fishing, hiking, and snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies.


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