CanWest News Service, Thursday, March 17, 2005 (printed in the
Edmonton Journal, Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Montreal Gazette)
NB: This article contains
some crucial factual errors. Contrary to what the
author states, David Orchard was not advised by
party officials subsequent to sending in his
registration, that his party membership had expired.
His membership renewal and convention registration
were both submitted at the same time, February 4, by
his brother Grant Orchard, on-line, and paid for
separately with David Orchard's own VISA card. (He
has the statement showing the transactions.) David
Orchard also received a letter from the Conservative
party, dated February 10, confirming his status as a
David Orchard banned from Tory convention
by Anne Dawson
OTTAWA - The federal Conservatives have banned David Orchard from attending
the party's policy convention in Montreal for failing to have a valid
The twice failed leadership candidate for the
Progressive Conservative party has accused Conservative
Leader Stephen Harper and his tight-knit group of
officials of trying to "pick and choose'' who they want
at their convention despite their claim to be a
"big-tent'' party open to all.
"This is absolute nonsense. They now appear to be
saying only certain people are welcome. I don't see how
that's going to fly anywhere in Canada,'' said Orchard,
who arrived in Montreal Wednesday night.
But Conservative executive director Ian Brodie
dismissed Orchard's allegations insisting he's being
treated like any other individual attempting to attend
the convention as an observer without a valid
"We said no to everybody who didn't have a valid
membership,'' said Brodie.
Orchard is best known for the deal he struck with
Peter MacKay in the 2003 PC leadership race. MacKay
secured the leadership after promising Orchard he would
steer clear of merger talks with the Alliance. MacKay
later reneged on his promise and Orchard subsequently
failed in his legal attempt to stop the merger.
Orchard said he paid $540 to attend the convention as
an observer a few months ago.
He was subsequently advised by party officials that
his $10 membership had expired at the end of 2004.
Orchard's brother, who handles all his business
dealings, renewed the membership online Feb. 4 using
Orchard's credit card.
Orchard said he has a confirmation, number CPC0917,
from the party to prove it.
However, three days ago he said he was notified by
Brodie that his observer registration was being
cancelled because he didn't personally renew his
membership. Orchard rejects the suggestion that his
membership wasn't valid because his brother sent the
e-mail and said even then, he offered to pay his $10 in
person upon arrival. That offer was also rejected.
"The council decided that it was in the interests of
the party that they didn't want him to be a member of
the party any longer,'' said Brodie.
Sources say, however, that a number of court battles
between Orchard and the party are at the bottom of this
Orchard launched a court battle in 2003 to get the
party to pay him the $70,000 in expenses he said he was
owed from the leadership race. Sources say an agreement
had been reached but Orchard reneged at the last minute.
Orchard said Wednesday night the only reason he
refused to go along with the settlement was because the
party attempted to make him sign a "sweeping waiver'' at
the last minute never to sue anyone in the old Tory
party or the new Conservative party again as a condition
of getting the money.
"I'm not going to be blackmailed into signing
something E to get the money that is owed me,'' said
Orchard, adding he will continue his legal battle with
Orchard wouldn't say Wednesday if he has something
planned to upstage the convention by travelling to
Montreal even though he can't attend.