Conservative Black Congress of Canada chair Tunde Obasan says most of the black Canadians he knows are naturally conservative, but that this political reality isn’t currently reflected in voting patterns.

“Most (black Canadians) I know are naturally conservative; based on their background, their culture or their faith etc,” said Obasan in an interview with True North. 

The Conservative Black Congress of Canada (CBCC) is a grassroots organization that was initially launched in 2009, and then re-launched in 2021. Prominent members of the organization include Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis, who sits on the advisory board.

Obasan told True North that he and his colleagues re-launched the organization in part because of their belief that many black Canadians hold conservative values.

According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, Christianity is prominent in Canada’s black community. Just 18% of black Canadians say they have no religious affiliation, compared to 37.5% of white Canadians.

Meanwhile, a 2021 Statistics Canada report on Religiosity in Canada found that those born outside of Canada are more religious and participate more in group religious activities compared to those born in Canada. A majority of Canada’s black population was born outside of Canada.

“I know they are conservatives at heart, but yet their voting pattern doesn’t support that,” said Obasan, adding that “misinformation makes people behave differently when it comes to voting.”

The federal Liberals have been accused of engaging in virtue-signalling identity politics with members of Canada’s black community. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau infamously took a knee for Black Lives Matter in Ottawa, while a new federal program for black entrepreneurs announced the same year caused controversy after bureaucrats rejected certain applications claiming businesses weren’t ‘black enough’. 

Obasan believes the Liberals tend to be all talk, no action when it comes to addressing important issues. “What Liberals are even saying is not true most of the time.”

The CBCC has taken on several initiatives to help grow the conservative movement in the black community. This includes civic sessions that seek to explain Canada’s political atmosphere and help ensure they’re supporting the political party and candidates that best aligns with their values.

“The information we pass across during those sessions will always be what politics means in Canada (and) how can you be involved,” said Obasan.

The CBCC is also working to increase Black representation in Conservative caucuses and candidate slates, by offering support and advice to qualified black conservatives who want to seek political office. 

“We have a lot of people who are well groomed, they are well ready, they can make a lot of meaningful impacts in Canadian society. But they need somebody to encourage them, (to) mentor them,” said Obasan, adding that this is where the CBCC comes in.

In 2020, Leslyn Lewis became the first black woman to run for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and became a Conservative MP the following year. Obasan believes Lewis has had an important political impact on the black community.

“She has appealed to many black Canadians, who now see that they can actually make an impact in this country if they put their hearts there, regardless of the limitations they could envisage.”

Obasan noted that Lewis was elected to represent the riding of Haldimand–Norfolk, which is predominantly white. “(Constituents) accepted her because they saw that she had the value they wanted in their area.”

In addition to winning 47.39% of the votes in her riding in the last federal election, Lewis received strong support in the prairie provinces in the 2020 leadership race, and won the popular vote in the second round.

The CBCC has held several events featuring prominent Conservative figures including Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, Andrew Scheer and Garnett Genuis. The organization also runs a political internship program every summer. 

Tunde Obasan is the 2023 UCP candidate for Edmonton-South and the 2021 federal Conservative candidate of record for Edmonton Strathcona.