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The Globe and Mail

Canadian Conservatives advise British Tories on how to win ethnic votes

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at an event in London October 11, 2012.


Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been giving tips to David Cameron's British Tories on how to win ethnic votes.

Mr. Kenney, the architect of the ethnic-vote strategy that helped Stephen Harper's Conservatives expand their political base in Canada, said Mr. Cameron's strategists asked to meet him to hear his electoral advice.

He said he met with members of the British PM's staff and British Conservative Party strategists at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the prime minister, on Monday.

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"They asked for a meeting when they learned I'd be in London," Mr. Kenney told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday. "Obviously the Conservative Party has a partnership, certain links, with the other centre-right parties in democratic countries, like the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom."

Mr. Cameron, who leads a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, now faces the task of trying to fight a second election, and like the Canadian Tories who spent five years in minority government, they are seeking to expand their base. But most immigrants and ethnic voters lean to his Labour opponents.

Mr. Kenney has for years assiduously courted Canada's ethnic communities to win over voters who were once thought to be locked up by the Liberals. The Tories have not only devoted time and attention to ethnic organizations, and money to some of their causes, they have made a pitch that many new Canadians share the small-c conservative principles of the Tories.

He noted that polls show 42 per cent of voters born outside Canada supported the Tories in 2011 federal election – a greater portion than those born in the country.

"We succeeded in making an approach based on conservative values – support for personal responsibility, reducing the tax burden, our efforts against crime," he said.

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