Rona Ambrose is the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada – at least for now. The Edmonton MP and former cabinet minister was elected by the Conservative caucus to serve as the party’s interim leader earlier this month, but Parry Sound – Muskoka MP Tony Clement says he hasn’t ruled out a leadership campaign, either.
“I’m weighing things now,” the former President of the Treasury board said of whether he would run in the upcoming leadership race. “I haven’t decided either way, but I’ll be doing my research before I make a final decision.”
Clement will have awhile to make that decision as the prospect of a permanent leader is still a ways off, with no specific date announced. Clement said that the Conservative Party’s national council is in the process of determining the rules, regulations and timing for leadership race, but since the leadership race requires a full party member vote, as opposed to just the Conservative caucus, that timeline may still be far away.
Leadership or otherwise, Clement will likely be a prominent member of the Conservative opposition regardless, but what role he’ll take is still up in the air.
“I’ll have some clarity on my role and responsibility,” Clement said, noting he is expecting a meeting with the interim leader in the near future. “I’m keen to have a large role and hold the Liberal government to account, as is the job. I fully expect to be engaged and am looking forward to the new role and responsibility, whatever it is.”
Regardless of his potential leadership bid, Clement said that he was pleased with Ambrose’s appointment as interim leader calling it a signal of forward progress.
“I’m looking forward to working with her,” Clement said. “I believe it will illustrate our intention to move forward and reconnect with Canadians, as we should do.”
Clement said that that the current Conservative Party has a strong base from which to build upon when and that he is proud of much of what the Conservative government was able to achieve during its tenure, but recognizes now is time to rebuild some areas.
“We’ve got a great base on which to build; we don’t have to completely deconstruct and reconstruct. We have 32 per cent of the popular vote, 99 members of parliament which is a good opposition,” he said. “… We’ve got a lot of good things to look back on: fiscal and economic issues, taxes and security, but now we’ve got to rebuild on some other policy planks and rebuild the national coalition we had when we were successful.”