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Black conservatives in Canada inspired by Leslyn Lewis

Despite entering the race as a relatively unknown figure, Lewis finished in a very close third place (just behind O'Toole in the second round of voting), appealing to many social conservatives, in addition to those turned off by the bombastic, populist rhetoric of Sloan. In many parts of the country, Lewis trumped both MacKay and O'Toole.

Although the Association of Black Conservatives ultimately endorsed O'Toole (which led Lewis to criticize the group), arguing that they did so to avoid reducing the question of conservative leadership to identity politics, black conservatives in Canada have nevertheless been galvanized. For example, the Conservative Black Congress has been revived (to be formally relaunched on the 24th) in part due to support from Lewis. It will host a parliamentary internship program named for retired senator Donald Oliver, the first Black Canadian appointed to the Senate.

"Our main focus is to support candidates, even if they are not front-runners," said chair Tunde Obasan."The more we do that, and the more we get candidates who are from the Black community, the more people who are not currently fine with the party, the more they begin to see the party as for everyone."

Simultaneously, the Association of Black Conservatives "has been busy setting up provincial chapters to also support community and civic participation at the local levels," reports Stephanie Levitz.

Both of these associations will go a long way in attracting multiracial support for the party in the future, proving prime minister Stephen Harper's claim that the party is exclusively backed by "old stock Canadians" unfounded.

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