Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose to step down
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