Rona Ambrose, interim Conservative leader, tells Atlantic Canadians 'we have your back'
Rona Ambrose says this is her fourth visit to the Atlantic region
The Conservative Party of Canada is trying to appeal to Atlantic Canadians — a region that voted in only Liberal MPs in the 2015 election.
"There are 32 Members of Parliament from the Liberal Party here, there are four Liberal Premiers in this region, and an opposition is important," interim leader Rona Ambrose told Mainstreet P.E.I. while visiting the Island.
"We know you didn't elect a Conservative MP, but we in the House of Commons have your back and we are going to be that strong opposition for the people of Atlantic Canada just like we are for anywhere else in the country."
Ambrose said she's been delivering that message "right from the get go." She said it's been put into practice with the Conservative National Caucus' fall meetings in Halifax this week, and this being her fourth visit to the region.
The party will also hold its national convention in Halifax, in 2018.
'The economy is in a rough place'
Ambrose said her party is fighting for the issues that matter to P.E.I.
"And what I mean is jobs," she said. "The economy is in a rough place and there is not much light at the end of the tunnel."
When asked about the changes the Conservatives made to employment insurance for seasonal workers, Ambrose said her party focused on the long term.
"A really good job for life is what people want," she said.
"For instance we made the decision to invest in our ships. This is an industrial strategy for the next 25 years," she said.
"It's created thousands of jobs across the Atlantic region — not just for the people who are building those ships at the shipyard at Irving in Halifax — but for literally hundreds of people in small businesses that are suppliers and on the supply chain. That's just one example."
The future of leadership
Ambrose said she hopes someone from the region runs to become the party's next leader.
Former cabinet minister and Nova Scotia MP Peter MacKay has said he won't be running, but Ambrose said there are current Conservative MPs with Atlantic connections.
"I hope Lisa [Raitt] runs because she's from Cape Breton and she understands the issues here and she just has that natural connection," she said.
"Another one of our members, Erin O'Toole, he was from this region. He was stationed here as a military officer … so he's got a strong connection to the Maritimes too and I think he's going to run."
'I have a phone number'
Ambrose said people in P.E.I. shouldn't hesitate to reach out to her party, and in the absence of a local MP, she said they can contact her directly.
"I have a phone number. I have a website. You can send me a note," she said. "We're accessible."
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With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.