‘Elvis Priestley’ out to beat former Conservative
leadership hopeful on home turf

By David Bolton
The InterimHe’s “all shook up,” has his “blue suede walkin’ shoes” on and is ready to hit the campaign trail.

Rev. Dorian Baxter, BA, OTC, M. Div. and aka “Elvis Priestly,” is seeking office as the MP for the new riding of Newmarket-Aurora in the upcoming federal election.

Shortly after he was ordained in 1983, Baxter adopted Elvis Presley as his pulpit persona to try to counteract the influence of heavy metal rock music on young people. Last year, Baxter, an Anglican priest, formed his own church after the Anglican Church of Canada told him to stop imitating Elvis in his services and denied him a licence to perform weddings.

Baxter, 53, who sings Elvis-style hymns for services, but saves the Elvis jumpsuits for receptions, has not been defrocked, but is no longer part of the diocese, and his church has no relationship with the Canadian Anglican church.

Baxter refused to abandon his “Elvis” ministry or his new church. “I see myself as not leaving the church at all, but continuing the true Anglican church’s position, from which the present hierarchy has departed.” he told The Interim.

Since a story about him appeared in USA Today last year, he says he has gained legal non-profit status for his church, and currently 80 to 110 people regularly attend Sunday services.

His persona may be all Elvis, but his message is conservative. Baxter disapproves of the U.S. Episcopal church’s first gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire. “I uphold the traditional teaching of Christianity, which does not approve of same-sex marriage and does not approve of homosexual practice,” he says.

Baxter, who is father to two adopted daughters, has said that he also opposes abortion and euthanasia and would work in Parliament to promote the culture of life.

He insists he’s always been a staunch Progressive Conservative, and believes in a blend of fiscal responsibility and balanced social spending. He also started an organization – the National Association for Public and Private Accountability – that is active in reporting and seeking redress in cases of abuse by the family court system.

Now, Baxter plans to revive the old Progressive Conservative party – now to be known as the Progressive Canadian party – as a candidate in the next federal election, in defiance of the merger that gave rise to the new Conservative Party of Canada. He was acclaimed at a PC nomination meeting in the new federal riding of Newmarket-Aurora – the same riding where failed Conservative leadership hopeful Belinda Stronach will seek her own party’s nomination.

Denouncing the new Conservative party as an “unholy Alliance,” and describing the Liberal government a “a dynasty that has ruled without checks and balances for more than a decade,” Baxter promises to tackle local issues like the cost of a phone call to Toronto – it’s long distance, while nearby Aurora can call for free – and a shortage of commuter train service to the growing community.

Baxter is running under the guidance of Sinclair Stevens, former MP and cabinet minister under Brian Mulroney. Baxter was handpicked by Stevens as someone whose profile and media savvy made him a natural choice to help put the PC party back on the political stage. Baxter’s campaign is being run out of Stevens’ law offices in Newmarket.