Rona Ambrose speaks during the annual Press Gallery Dinner on June 4 in Gatineau. (Photo: Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
Rona Ambrose during Question Period in the House of Commons, June 14. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)"I will stay to support the new leader, absolutely, that's important," she said. Ambrose and her partner J.P. Veitch have kept a punishing schedule, spending House of Commons break weeks travelling the country for fundraisers and local events. Most nights and mornings in Ottawa are taken up with similar pursuits. Veitch has adopted the political spouse role with vigour as the two have tried to open up their official residence at Stornoway for as many events as possible, hosting MPs and their families, staffers, the media and others on a regular basis. It's part of the rebranding exercise the Tories are engaged in overall as they strive to shake off the negative associations built up over former prime minister Stephen Harper's decade at the helm of the party and the country.
A big tool in that campaign has been humour: an April Fool's joke listing Stornoway, the official Opposition residence, on Airbnb; a mechanical bull at a party; gags aplenty in a press gallery speech. "I think that does change the tone but it doesn't diminish our ability to ask tough questions," said Ambrose. The need for a change in tone was a message communicated clearly by voters in the last election, but it's also a reflection of a response to her political foe, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose political style is very different from his predecessor. There's nothing wrong with Trudeau's appearances on the cover of Vogue or his other efforts to find new ways to connect with Canadians, Ambrose said. At the end of the day that's not what Canadians will judge him on. "What people expect their prime ministers to do is focus on the big issues. So if he fails on the economy and he fails on keeping Canadians safe, then he'll have failed," she said. "No spread in Vogue is going to be enough."
"What people expect their prime ministers to do is focus on the big issues."
Also on HuffPost