Former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose will not run to replace Andrew Scheer.
In a video posted to her Facebook account on Wednesday evening, Ambrose explained her decision not to enter the race to replace Scheer, despite heavy speculation that she was considering a return to political life in Ottawa.
“I want to thank you for all your messages of encouragement and support to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. 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 wrote in the statement, which accompanied the video.
Ambrose noted that she has “really struggled with the decision to return to political life” but intends to stay in the private sector.
“I loved my 13 years in public service as an MP, minister and especially as leader of this great party,” she said. “But right now, I am focused on making a difference through the private sector.
“And the truth is, I love being back in Alberta.”
Ambrose continued: “I know we will choose a strong, compassionate person to lead us — who supports all families; a leader who unleashes the potential of the private sector and Canadian ingenuity through low taxes and less regulation; who defends universal human rights and principled foreign policy.
“But more than anything we need to choose a leader who understands the job is about serving — serving all Canadians and making their lives, their country and their world a better place to live.”
Scheer said last month he would step down from the leadership of the party following his election loss, and after it was revealed he had been using party donor funds to cover his childrens’ private school tuition.
Since then, several candidates have said they plan to run to replace him.
Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu is the only woman in the race so far.
Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay said last week he is in the race but has been tight-lipped since.
Meanwhile, Pierre Poilievre, also a former Tory cabinet minister, has begun discussing his positions on things like same-sex marriage and abortion without officially announcing a bid for the leadership.
Rookie Conservative MP Derek Sloan, only just elected in the fall, has also said he will run, as has Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman.