OTTAWA — Leslyn Lewis burst onto the political scene during the 2020 Conservative party leadership race and became a star in the socially conservative movement. Originally billed as the candidate with the most restrictive views on abortion and now a sitting MP for Haldimand-Norfolk in Ontario, Lewis has built her second leadership campaign on the idea of personal and national sovereignty.
Born: Dec. 2, 1970
Early years: Lewis was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada with her parents when she was five. Raised in Toronto, Lewis has four degrees including a PhD in international law and a master's degree in environmental studies.
Before politics: Lewis worked at a law firm on Bay Street in Toronto before launching her own general law practice.
Political record: Lewis had previously run for federal office in 2015 and lost, but was still virtually unknown in national politics when she joined the 2020 Conservative leadership race. She quickly became a household name in conservative circles and came in third in the contest. She ran for a seat in Haldimand-Norfolk in 2021 and won. She told right-wing media outlet True North that she declined a critic role in the party because she would have had to disclose her COVID-19 vaccination status, which she opposed on moral grounds.
Family: Lewis lives with her children and husband in her riding of Haldimand-Norfolk, just outside of Hamilton, Ont.
Quote: "We have a lot of international organizations encroaching on our freedoms and on our liberties and somebody with international experience that can dissect these treaties and understand how these treaties affect our sovereignty is very, very important," Lewis said in an August 2022 interview with controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2022.
Laura Osman, The Canadian Press