Thursday December 3, 2015
Rona Ambrose reaches out to former Tory prime ministers for advice on leadership race
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose has been seeking advice from former Tory prime ministers, who told her the party should be making sure Progressive Conservatives feel welcome.
In the past few weeks, Ambrose has spoken to Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, and to former Reform Party leader Preston Manning. All agreed that the party shouldn’t rush a leadership race, she said in an interview.
The party’s governing body is on the verge of forming a leadership committee, and making initial decisions about the time frame for the race. An internal consensus has emerged that the vote not happen for some time – 18 months from now or longer, Ambrose said.
“It’s been a decade of the Conservative Party of Canada but we have a long legacy of conservatism in our conservative movement, and we’re moving forward for the first time in a decade into a leadership race,” she said.
“We want to get it right, and I’ve sought their advice on how to make sure we do that. The consensus was very clear, that we should take our time…”
She said Mulroney and Clark in particular emphasized that the party should signal that it is open to all types of conservatives – a direct reference to Progressive Conservatives who might have felt alienated in recent years.
Former leader Stephen Harper had a mercurial relationship with Mulroney, and little contact with Clark, who had opposed the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.
” 1/8 The advice 3/8 was, ‘Make sure that you open up the welcome, or open up your arms to those who may have felt that they weren’t part of the party in the past, or felt they were on the sidelines, but feel that they’re conservative and want to be a part of the party and want to be back in the middle of things,”‘ said Ambrose.
Ambrose added that she and Campbell spoke at length about the experience of being a woman at the helm of the party. She chatted with Mulroney about relations with caucus members. Mulroney was well known for remembering and marking important moments in the lives of his MPs and friends. (CTV News)