Opinion·Point of View

Leslyn Lewis: It's time to find the commonalities that bind us together as a nation

CBC News invited all four Conservative Party leadership candidates to write about the key ideas in their platform, why Canada needs these ideas now, and what actions they would prioritize in their first 100 days as leader of the nation if the party is elected to form the next government.

Lewis says if elected Conservative leader, her immediate focus will be on forging national unity

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis makes her opening statement at the start of the French Leadership Debate in Toronto on June 17. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

This column is a point of view by Conservative Party leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis. CBC News invited all four candidates to write about the key ideas in their platform, why Canada needs these ideas now, and what actions they would prioritize in their first 100 days as leader of the nation if the party is elected to form the next government. CBC News will have special coverage of the Conservative leadership race results on Sunday Aug. 23 on cbc.ca, CBC Television and CBC News Network starting at 5 p.m. ET, and on CBC Radio One starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Our unity is our strength.

The prosperity of our nation is intrinsically tied to our unity. As leader of the Conservative Party and future prime minister, my primary objective will be to bind various regions together in the common goal of unity and prosperity for all Canadians.

Recognizing the multiplicity of urgent causes that face this nation, my immediate focus will be on forging national unity, because I believe that the success of every plan and policy will rest on our ability to unite our great country.

The goal of party unity and national unity was the primary reason that I decided to run for the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. I witnessed disunity within our party, and that we had succumbed to the belief that everyone had to think alike in order for us to appeal to Canadians at large.

I believe that the Conservative Party should remain the last big-tent party, where people are free to hold divergent beliefs that are entrenched in our democracy and our fundamental freedoms.  

We need to focus on listening to those who disagree with us as much as we insist on having the freedom to speak our own minds.- Leslyn Lewis

My campaign has deliberately focused on honouring those that I am competing with and being respectful of all Canadians, even those who don't hold my views. I believe that when we respect and trust our democracy, this simple act unites and binds us together. I believe that no conversation or topic should be off-limits; rather, we need to focus on listening to those who disagree with us as much as we insist on having the freedom to speak our own minds.

I ran my campaign with the belief that doing politics differently could work, and it has. I have focused on my vision for a united and prosperous Canada, instead of getting bogged down in attacking my opponents. I will lead our party in the same manner.

It is going to take a healthy dose of love and compassion in order for us to survive as a nation. We need to be willing to hear each other's pain, person to person, region to region.

I will lead as prime minister in the exact same way I have run my campaign. I will not embrace negativity and partisanship. Instead, I will focus on uniting the country and what can bring Canadians together.

From left: Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates Derek Sloan, Erin O'Toole, Peter MacKay and Leslyn Lewis are seen at an English-language debate in Toronto on June 18. The leadership election results will be announced Aug. 23. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

Time to find the commonalities

We need to radically alter the way this country is governed, so that our objective is to always honestly serve those who entrust us to govern. We must move away from the tribalism and divisive discourse that pushes us apart.

It is time to find the commonalities that bind us together as a nation. We must be willing to open the channels of communication across the country in order to gain an understanding of the causes of regional discontent.

As leader of the Conservative Party and as prime minister, I will not treat the different regions of this country simply as votes to be courted, but as people whose opinions, dreams and fears matter.

A Lewis government will put our energies into finding real solutions that will reduce the alienation of today and create a strong and united Canada.

We will create economic policies that allow all regions to prosper. We will focus on providing a path to a successful future once again by reducing our deficit and paying down our debt.

We will find creative ways to incentivize businesses to bring our supply chains back home, so that we will never again be reliant on foreign nations to provide food, medical supplies and other life necessities in times of crisis.

We will get rid of the red tape and roadblocks set up to stop our natural resources and products from getting to other markets.

And we will build a strong national infrastructure which will benefit all the provinces, as we learn once again to work together for the sake of our nation.

In the past few years, and especially the past few months, we have seen a heightened concentration on our different identities; I will instead focus on our Canadian identity, bringing us together in a Canada where we radically love and respect our differences, rather than using them as a means to separate us.

I look forward to working together with all Canadians to build a strong, united and independent Canada.

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