Rona Ambrose says she won’t run to succeed Andrew Scheer as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
In a Facebook post this afternoon, the former interim Conservative leader said she “struggled” with the decision to stay out.
“It is humbling to be considered at all — because I love our party, I love the people in it and I love our country,” she said.
Thanking her supporters for their “messages of encouragement,” she said that she remains focused on her work in the private sector. “And the truth is, I love being back in Alberta,” she added in the Facebook post.
“I know we will choose a strong, compassionate person to lead us — who supports ALL families. I know we’ll choose a good leader and I’ll be there to support HER…or him!”
Ambrose’s announcement may open up the race to prospective candidates who were waiting to see which way she would jump. Widely seen as a polished and effective performer close to the centre of the political spectrum, Ambrose was viewed by some Conservative supporters as the party’s best shot to take down the Liberals in the next general election.
Her decision is certain to disappoint some. Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall personally urged her to run; he told CBC News earlier this month that Ambrose “checks the boxes, in terms of policy, in terms of electability.
“And then finally, she’s from Western Canada,” Wall said. “I think she knows where I stand on her potential candidacy. We haven’t spoken since, I guess, a week or so just after the federal election. So it’s been a long time since we’ve even chatted, other than me throwing her name around, maybe irresponsibly, in the media and social media.”
Ambrose formally resigned her House of Commons seat in 2017 after serving as a Conservative MP for 13 years.
She represented the Edmonton riding of Sturgeon River-Parkland (formerly Edmonton-Spruce Grove) and served in a number of ministerial positions under former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Before taking on the temporary leadership of the party in the fall of 2015, Ambrose served as the minister for environment, labour, health and the status of women, among other cabinet posts.