Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis has become the first woman approved to run for the federal Conservative party leadership, saying she wants the job to bring courage and compassion back to politics.

Lewis has been working for weeks to sign up supporters and raise funds to support her bid, handing in the first 1,000 signatures required and a $25,000 entry fee last week. She was officially registered by the party on Tuesday, and added to its “approved candidates” list Wednesday. 

On her website, Lewis says she came to Canada at age five from Jamaica, and watched her mother work hard to build a better life for her six children. Lewis would go on to earn multiple degrees and set up her own law practice in Toronto.

“I am running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada because I see these opportunities for future generations falling away and I see our values being undermined — even within our own party,” Lewis said.