In his first speech since last fall’s election defeat, Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister told the party faithful not to linger on the past.
At the party convention in Vancouver, Stephen Harper chose optimism with only quick mentions of the election defeat that saw the Tories booted from office.
While he lauded a bright future Harper also passed the torch to whomever will lead the party next.
“In a year you will select from many outstanding candidates a new leader, and you will unite behind that person. Because in 2019, perhaps more than we understand even now, our country will need a strong, united, Conservative party ready to govern.”
Harper lauded the party for making inroads among ethnic communities, banning big money from politics, and making strong stands on the international stage.
Meanwhile, a long-time former Nova Scotia Conservative MP hopped from one coast to the other to attend the party’s Vancouver convention.
Peter MacKay says he won’t be making any announcements this weekend, although as far as a leadership bid he is keeping his options open.
Mackay was asked if he supports a move at the convention to allow interim leader Rona Ambrose to run for leader.
“I take her at her word. She has been pretty clear about her intentions. I am a great friend and a fan of Rona and I think she has done an outstanding job. The place that we will be in the future I think again will be a reflection of some of the hard work and heavy lifting that Rona is doing right now.”
MacKay added it was important Stephen Harper address the convention, saying he has left the party strong and united.