Toronto Sun, Friday, August 2, 2002
Tory brass suspect coup at convention
By Stephanie Rubec, Ottawa Brueau
OTTAWA -- High-ranking Tories are accusing leader
Joe Clark of getting into bed with a socialist nemesis they ear
is orchestrating a coup at the party's national convention this
month. Tories working to oust Clark fear David Orchard, an anti-free
trade activist, is attempting to take over the Conservative party
and transform it into a socialist one.
High-ranking Tories estimate Orchard has about 250 followers attending
the convention, all of whom have been instructed to vote for Clark
in the confidence vote. But that's not enough support to guarantee
the 50% plus one vote needed to avoid a leadership race. Clark has
not said what level of support he requires to stay on as leader.
Orchard first surfaced at the 1999 Tory convention in which he
ran against Clark for leader and garnered enough support to force
a second ballot.
He has since thrown his support behind Clark, surprising many
within the party.
"A lot of Tories are very angry at the pact," said a former Clark
supporter who is now working to oust him. "Without David Orchard,
Joe Clark would be dead."
Tory President Bruck Easton dismissed concerns about Orchard,
noting he's been involved in the party for about five years and
shares similar views on the environment and agriculture.