Con­ser­va­tive in­terim leader Rona Am­brose to step down

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - TORONTO STAR

OT­TAWA — Rona Am­brose is ex­pected to an­nounce Tues­day she’s step­ping back from fed­eral pol­i­tics af­ter the party’s new leader is se­lected at the end of the month.

Am­brose’s team said on Mon­day that she would give her fi­nal pub­lic speech as the Con­ser­va­tives’ in­terim leader to the Cana­dian Club of Ot­tawa Tues­day morn­ing at the Château Lau­rier ho­tel.

As first re­ported by iPol­i­tics, Am­brose is ex­pected to an­nounce she will not stand for re-elec­tion in 2019. A source within the party con­firmed the re­port Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Last week, Am­brose hosted for­mer staffers, Con­ser­va­tive Party func­tionar­ies and in­sid­ers at Stornoway, the his­toric res­i­dence of the leader of the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, for food and drinks.

Am­brose won plau­dits from pun­dits and politi­cos in Ot­tawa for her steady lead­er­ship of the post-Harper Con­ser­va­tives, man­ag­ing to keep the party to­gether in the House of Com­mons dur­ing an at-times ac­ri­mo­nious lead­er­ship con­test.

De­spite lack­ing a per­ma­nent leader and de­spite a lead­er­ship con­test that should have eaten into the party’s fundrais­ing, the Con­ser­va­tives raised more than $5 mil­lion in the first quar­ter of 2017.

Am­brose was first elected in 2004 for the newly formed Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada in the rid­ing of Ed­mon­ton-Spruce Grove. Un­der the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment of Stephen Harper, she served as min­is­ter of sev­eral de­part­ments, in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­ment, pub­lic works, labour, sta­tus of women and health.

There have been ru­mours in Ot­tawa in the last num­ber of months that Am­brose is in­ter­ested in run­ning mu­nic­i­pally.

But given the ru­mours usu­ally in­volve tak­ing on Cal­gary Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi, and Am­brose rep­re­sent­ing an Ed­mon­ton rid­ing, the ru­mours seemed more like wish­ful think­ing than real­ity.

Rick An­der­son, a long­time Ot­tawa Con­ser­va­tive, gave Am­brose a shin­ing en­dorse­ment for her time as in­terim leader. An­der­son pointed out that Am­brose was not shy about point­ing out some of the darker sides of the lead­er­ship race.

“She stepped into that sit­u­a­tion and didn’t mind, hasn’t minded say­ing to peo­ple that’s not the way the party thinks about this or that, such as the Rachel Not­ley in­ci­dent,” An­der­son said on Mon­day night.

An­der­son was re­fer­ring to a Con­ser­va­tive rally at which peo­ple chanted “lock her up” re­gard­ing Not­ley.

“Most peo­ple looked at that and said, ‘Yeah, I’m glad she said that, and that’s just right.’ And she also man­ages to get that bal­ance right where you can say, ‘Look, this is not who we are, this is not what we be­lieve in, this is not how we think pol­i­tics should be con­ducted,’ with­out start­ing a witch hunt that goes nowhere.”

Rona Am­brose: won plau­dits

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