VANCOUVER, January 21, 2004 ( – Belinda Stronach kicked off her campaign for the Conservative Party leadership today in Vancouver, dubbing the visit the “FUNcouver campaign.” Stronach, a political neophyte, read a statement from teleprompters to the media, in which she said that she was in favour of same-sex marriage. Her campaign manager, John Laschinger, later added that she is also pro-abortion.

Laschinger claimed that an internal poll by the campaign found that 75 per cent of members of the new party favour a candidate who is middle of the road, not hard right on social issues. 

Key organizer of Stronach’s trip to the Lower Mainland, Tim Crowhurst, a public relations consultant, said he’s confident that Stronach can rid the new party of “negative connotations” some Canadians had regarding the old Alliance and Reform parties. “She also opens up the party to a whole wide swath of people who have never been involved in politics before, particularly young people, women, minorities, as well as the gay population.” 

Stronach is the daughter of Frank Stronach, founder and former President/CEO of the giant auto-parts maker Magna International. In a first for Ontario in 100 years, Premier Ernie Eves announced the 2002 Ontario budget from the Magna International auto parts firm in Aurora, north of Toronto. 

With files from


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