Scott Thompson: Rona Ambrose is out of the Conservative leadership race — before ever being in it

Rona Ambrose announces she will not run for Conservative leadership
WATCH: In a video posted to her Facebook account on Wednesday evening, Rona Ambrose explained her decision not to enter the Conservative race to replace Andrew Scheer.

Rona Ambrose has announced she will not run for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party and, eventually, prime minister.

Perhaps she realized she can do better, with much less hassle, and have a better quality of life out of the political public eye.

Ambrose, who was Conservative interim leader before Andrew Scheer was chosen to head the party, was a front-runner along with Peter MacKay, who announced his candidacy last week.

READ MORE: Rona Ambrose announces she will not run for Conservative leadership

After the last election, both MacKay and Ambrose headed back to the private sector. Many speculated it was because Justin Trudeau seemed an unbeatable king for two terms, rather than a prime minister who would fumble to a minority government after many missteps in his first.

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Scheer, however, failed to paint a modern path for the Conservatives to identify with younger, more progressive Canadians, resulting in the party winning more seats but not the top job — or, as MacKay put it, allowing the other team to score on an empty net.

Refusing to march in Pride parades and a disconnect with those concerned about climate change are the main examples.

Ambrose promised a kinder, gentler Conservative Party when she took over and balanced that with the needs of all Canadians.

It’s also an advantage she’s a woman, but somewhere that got lost in the leadership contest, leaving Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer as the front-runners.

READ MORE: Former Quebec premier Jean Charest will not seek Conservative leadership

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The Conservatives need to lose the image of your grandfather’s party, something that starts with a long, hard look in the mirror at what they will look like heading into the next decade.

We live in a world that has become divisive. The party that unites the country by meeting in the middle will win the next election.

Voters are tired of the extremes and the unrest it brings.

Ambrose could deliver that message, appealing to a wide range of Canadians, but now it will be left up to MacKay and other candidates for the party’s leadership to sell a new Conservative vision.

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML — Hamilton.​​​​

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