By Cam Fortems
Kamloops This Week
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod applauded the choice on Thursday of former Conservative health minister Rona Ambrose as interim leader of the party.
Conservative MPs and senators voted to see Ambrose guide the party over the coming months as it chooses a permanent leader to replace Stephen Harper.
McLeod is former parliamentary secretary to Ambrose, who visited Kamloops during the election campaign.
“As I reflected on a number of her attributes, her reasonable fluency in French and previous experience in opposition, she was my top choice,” McLeod said.
As interim leader, Ambrose has taken herself out of the running to become eventual party leader. Under Conservative rules, the interim leader cannot run for permanent status within the party.
“I feel that does give a competitive advantage,” McLeod said.
On the government side, Thompson Rivers University political scientist Derek Cook called appointment of Jody Wilson-Raybould as minister of justice “a remarkable change for the federal government.”
Wilson-Raybould, a former Crown lawyer and now Vancouver MP, was regional chief in B.C. for the Assembly of First Nations. Cook said he expects one of her first acts will be to launch a long-sought inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, particularly on Northern B.C.’s Highway of Tears.
Cook also noted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointment of Ontario academic and human-rights lawyer Catherine McKenna as environment minister.
“These [two ministers] are very capable women who have raised expectations,” he said.
Despite the appointment of women to half the cabinet positions, however, Cook noted there are no women who chair the various cabinet committees.
“Decisions are made in those committees,” he said.