Ambrose won't vote

Rona Ambrose took on the job of interim Conservative leader with the goal of identifying and developing the party's future leaders — but apparently, that doesn't include voting for one.

Ambrose is not taking part in the voting, which has been underway by mail for weeks and will culminate May 27 when the party gathers in Toronto to announce the winner.

"I feel strongly (that) even casting a secret ballot, you're thinking about who you think should win," she said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "I'm staying very neutral."

Ambrose will have the same piece of advice for whomever emerges the winner: Job 1 needs to be keeping the party together. It was the lone piece of political counsel she got from her predecessor, former prime minister Stephen Harper.

"He's really given me my space to do my thing but that was his (advice): 'Never forget, Rona, never forget, that the most important thing is the caucus; without the caucus there is no party,'" Ambrose said.

Ambrose has announced her plan to quit politics once the House of Commons rises for the summer. She said she'll be walking away feeling like she's helped renew the confidence of old MPs and bolster that of new ones.

Her future holds work as a visiting fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Centre, where she'll focus on the U.S.-Canada relationship.

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