Press Room

Social conservatives make their presence felt with 35% of the vote backing pro-life candidates Lewis & Sloan

Toronto, August 24, 2020 – Campaign Life Coalition is encouraged by the strong support that candidates Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan have received in the CPC leadership race. Even though Erin O’Toole won, the results show that social conservatives continue to be a major and irreplaceable part of the CPC base. In fact, with 35% of the vote on first ballot compared with 16% in 2017 for Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux, socon influence has grown significantly since the last leadership race.

“Contrary to the red Tory and media narrative that dismisses socially conservative candidates, these results prove that pro-life and pro-family candidates like Lewis and Sloan, who are unafraid to champion life and family issues, can draw strong support and be contenders,” said Jeff Gunnarson, national president of Campaign Life Coalition. “We expect that Erin O’Toole will ensure that social conservatives are respected and their values represented within the party going forward. If he disrespects the tens of thousands of grassroots members who voted for Lewis and Sloan, he will definitely lose the next general election. Everybody knows you can’t win a general election without your base.”

Gunnarson continued:  “Although a pro-life candidate did not win, by having pro-life standard bearers in the race, including Richard Decarie and Jim Karahalios, who were nixed earlier, it forced the other candidates to make some concessions to social conservatives, such as a pledge to protect conscience rights for healthcare workers, to eliminate Justin Trudeau’s values test for Summer Jobs applicants, and in MacKay’s platform, to defend religious liberty at home and abroad. We will hold the new Leader to account on his promises.”

“Campaign Life Coalition recruited over 26,000 memberships in support of Lewis and Sloan, more than twice as many as in the 2017 leadership race,” said Jack Fonseca, spokesperson for Campaign Life Coalition. “Social Conservatives will build on this momentum as CLC continues to mobilize the grassroots and work towards electing pro-life and pro-family candidates in the next federal election and eventually, to pass a bill restoring legal protection to children in the womb.”

Fonseca stressed that O’Toole received an unfair advantage from the red Tory establishment without which he would not likely have won: “By disqualifying Decarie and Karahalios, the party establishment rigged the ballot itself, which would have featured four socon choices to just two red Tories, almost certainly guaranteeing a victory for one of the four, owing to the ranked ballot system”. 

Campaign Life Coalition thanks Lewis, Sloan, Karahalios and Decarie for advancing pro-life and pro-family values in this CPC leadership race, keeping these issues front and centre, and the movement growing.

About Campaign Life Coalition
Campaign Life Coalition is a national, non-profit organization involved in political action and advocacy for legal and cultural change in Canada with respect to protecting human life & the family. For more information, visit

Media Contacts
Jeff Gunnarson, President, Campaign Life Coalition, 519-835-8201, [email protected]
Jack Fonseca, Political Operations Director, Campaign Life Coalition, 647-638-5433, [email protected]