Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement would neither confirm nor deny his intentions of running for the leadership of the Conservative Party.
Doppler contacted Clement following an article in last Saturday’s Toronto Star, in which unnamed sources told the newspaper that Clement supporters held a four-hour meeting at a Toronto office tower on Thursday, December 10. According to the article, Clement was at interim Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose’s Christmas party and did not attend the meeting. It did say Clement dialed in for a 10-minute conference call.
Clement would not comment on an “article with unnamed sources,” but did say he’s at an exploratory stage.
I haven’t decided to run by any measure yet. I think a lot of us who are in the party who’ve had positions of leadership and authority up to now, are at the exploratory stage and that’s the way I’d characterize it. Parry Sound-Muskoka Member of Parliament Tony Clement
He said he is encouraged to see that people think he’s got experience and leadership abilities, but it’s a serious decision and “I will be taking some time to make that decision.”
Clement said the party has struck a leadership organization committee, which will work within the party’s constitution to come up with the rules and timing of a leadership race.
“You don’t declare for something until you know what the parameters are,” he noted.
Clement said the party has to decide what it wants the attributes of a successful leader in the next election to be.
“I don’t think that’s clear yet,” said Clement. “My focus right now is to be an excellent Foreign Affairs critic for the Conservative Party and to help with the rebuilding (of the party) even before we get to the leadership cycle.”
In terms of the position itself, Clement said it will be important to have candidates who have the attributes that can appeal to all Canadians.
I think we all bring different attributes to the table. Now I am at a stage where I have experience and a little bit of grey hair. I’m also a first generation Canadian so we have to reconnect with immigrants and new Canadians – so those are just a couple of things that I bring to the table. I also think that whoever is running should have the plan to ensure that our policies are relevant and modern and appeal to a broad cross-section of Canadians. So those are the things that I think that the party should consider when considering leadership candidates. Clement
Stephen Harper stepped down as Conservative Party leader following the Tories’ defeat in last October’s election. Rona Ambrose was elected by the Conservative caucus as interim leader of the Conservative Party on November 5, 2015.