A New Face for Canadian Social Conservatism

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Leslyn Lewis is a long shot for party leadership, but she’s showing the country a savvy way to talk about faith in politics.

Leslyn Lewis stands out from her competitors for leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party. She’s the only woman. The only person of color. The only immigrant.

She’s also the one who speaks most publicly about the importance of her faith.

Lewis is a long shot for party leadership, behind political heavy weights Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole. But the fact that she’s even being considered as a credible contender has come as a surprise to many political observers.

In a country where religious faith is generally kept private and elected officials have struggled even trying to explain how deeply held Christian values could influence political decisions, Lewis has won fans across the country for her ability to speak about her evangelical beliefs in the public sphere. A member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, she’s able to speak about her faith in a way that inspires socially conservative Christians, while not alienating everyone else in Canada.

“She’s a perfect example of someone who has been smart and strategic about putting ideas out there,” said Michael Zwaagstra, a municipal council member in Manitoba, who has been public about his own faith throughout his personal political career. He told CT he has already mailed off his ballot for Lewis.

Running Third, but Gaining Ground

Votes can be mailed in until August 21 and will be counted after that. No official date has been set for the final tally. Whomever wins the election will lead the opposition party in parliament and attempt to regain control of the government when the next federal election takes place.

Polls show Lewis in third. MacKay leads the race with the support of 55 percent of likely Conservative voters, followed …

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