Updated: May 28, 2021
We at The Buffalo Tribune had the good fortune to interview Tunde Obasan, chair of the Conservative Black Congress of Canada [CBCC]. Having moved from Nigeria to Edmonton with his wife and four children, Mr. Obasan is an active member of the Edmonton community within the realm of politics and without. In addition to having run for the riding of Edmonton-South in 2019 under the banner of the UCP, Obasan was a stalwart supporter of both Andrew Scheer's campaign in 2017 and Leslyn Lewis' campaign in 2019.
TBT: Mr. Obasan, it's a pleasure to interview you. We'd like to begin by asking you for more information about the CBCC's mission statement and goals. Our readers are eager to know!
Obasan: Certainly! The CBCC is a non-profit organization formed by Canadians across the country with a common goal: to bring more Black Canadians into the "conservative family." We operate nationally, but we are not affiliated with any one political organization, although our members are both members of the CPC and provincial conservative parties.
TBT: We've noticed a new political landscape in Canada where minority groups such as Black, First Nations, Metis and Indian Canadians traditionally supported the Liberal Party—but this is changing rapidly, and the Liberals are no longer the exclusive party of multiculturalism. Can you speak to us about that?
Obasan: When we look at the involvement of immigrants and indigenous groups within the conservative family, we see that it's unfortunately been low, historically speaking. That is not what we should be seeing. Many immigrants have conservative values, but the issue is that they don't see a reflection of themselves in the party. By going out to talk to people and welcome them in, to show that we represent their values; that's our goal. We created this organization to operate at the grassroots, as we feel this is the most effective way to engage with Black Canadians.
TBT: How has Lewis' run impacted Black conservatism in Canada for the better?
Obasan: It was a great thing, seeing Lewis do so well. I think it proved to many Black Canadians that there's no limitation to what we can do. I think it also showed them that when you put your name out there to run for political office, people don't really care about race - just look at the overwhelming support Lewis got nationally from all Canadians! That is the message we need to communicate: come, our conservative family is welcoming to all!
TBT: Do you see the looming threat of excessive identity politics as potentially harmful to fostering inclusivity in Canada?
Obasan: I think this is a general problem that's growing around the world; it's not exclusive to Canada. I think we need to double down on the fact that we must move beyond seeing not just colour, but gender, religious affiliation as well—we should be focusing on the individual, while treating everyone regardless of identity with equal dignity and respect. That is one thing that that conservatism advocates for, and the CPCC will continue to promote that vision by showing love to everyone
TBT: As we reach our conclusion, where do you see the CPCC going into the future?
Obasan: Since our launch on the 24th, we’ve been receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from people—but one thing that made me the most happy and filled me with hope for this organization is this one e-mail we received. One attendee , a Liberal all their life, told me that they were inspired to vote for the CPC going forward after having attended our event. I truly believe that we will be able to increase our membership base and include more Canadians of all stripes into our conservative family.