Brad Wall not interested in Conservative party leadership, hopes Rona Ambrose is

REGINA — Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall says while he’s not interested in running for the federal Conservative party leadership, he knows someone who should.

Wall said Friday he’s honoured people are thinking of him, but he’s finished with elected politics and is enjoying life in the private sector.

But he could possibly become involved if the right candidate came along, he added.

Wall said he hopes former interim leader Rona Ambrose enters the race.

Hers is one of the names being tossed around in Conservative circles as a possible replacement for Andrew Scheer, who announced on Thursday that he would resign once a new leader is chosen.

Wall said Ambrose was able to unite the Conservatives when former prime minister Stephen Harper quit after the party’s 2015 election defeat and during the subsequent leadership race to replace him.

He also suggested she would concentrate the party’s attention elsewhere.

“The party wouldn’t be focused on the social conservative issues. She takes a different stand on some of them,” Wall said Friday.

“We’d be back to economic issues.”

Ambrose recently shared on social media that she’s proud to have been the first Conservative leader to march in a Pride parade. She said it’s time to show support to all families.

Scheer was dogged with questions throughout the fall federal election campaign and afterwards about his personal stance on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Wall said he feels the spotlight on social conservative issues hurt the party’s results and it became clear after election night it wasn’t going away.

“For me, that’s when I thought, well, I’m not sure that the party will ever be able to get back to its strength — which is economic issues — with Andrew’s leadership.”

He also suggested that Ambrose being from Alberta would be helpful given western alienation sentiments being voiced in that province and Saskatchewan.

Wall acknowledged some in the party may feel there’s a need to move away from western Canadian leaders after Scheer and Harper, but he disagrees, especially with some pushing for the formation of a federal “Wexit” separatist party.

“It should be on the list somewhere that there is an ability in the new leader to understand what’s going on in the West, the sense of alienation that’s here, and to bring those folks together, and also limit the ability of some new party to damage the chances for the Conservatives in the next election.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2019.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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