Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose says it’s time for the prime minister to step in and help end the war of words raging between local politicians over the Energy East pipeline.
In an interview with The West Block’s Tom Clark this weekend, Ambrose said she has been watching the escalating conflict between Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre – who has publicly opposed the project – and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall – who says it’s necessary to re-start Alberta’s struggling economy – with dismay.
Coderre has also taken shots at the leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Party, Brian Jean, saying he thinks he is relying on science to make an informed choice about the pipeline, but probably thinks “the Flintstones is a documentary.” (The joke is a favoured one for the Montreal mayor, who has employed it frequently in recent years against various opponents.)
“I hope cooler heads will prevail,” said Ambrose over the weekend. “I hope that Mayor Denis Coderre did not mean the insult that he did end up giving to most Albertans. I think he thought when took a shot at the Wildrose Party; it was just a political party. But right now, they are really representing and reflecting the views of Albertans.”
With tempers flaring, Ambrose said, it’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step in and help mediate. He has close relationships with both Coderre and another Energy East skeptic, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, she said.
“Pick up the phone and talk to them,” Ambrose said.
“I hope by now (Trudeau) knows the importance of pipelines, particularly Energy East, which has broad support, we thought, at least from premiers other than Kathleen Wynne. Even the premier in New Brunswick is supportive, and we need job creation in New Brunswick as well. So I hope that Prime Minister Trudeau can pick up the phone and use his influence with Kathleen Wynne and his influence with Dennis Coderre and get them onside for a project that really is about nation building.”
Ambrose was also asked by Clark to account for her party’s change of tune on several high-profile issues like the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, government transparency over the arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the so-called barbaric cultural practices tip-line – which Ambrose has vocally opposed even after supporting it under former Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
“I know you think that’s a switch, but Tom, I am the leader of the party now. My leader of the caucus (and I), we’ve discussed these things and we take positions.”
Ambrose said she thinks it’s “ludicrous” to assume the Conservatives are changing their tune on important issues whenever it suits them, and that her job as Opposition leader is now to hold the government to account.
Watch the full interview above.