She was selected by the caucus to lead the party on a temporary basis in the wake of Stephen Harper’s resignation in 2015.
During her tenure as health minister in the Harper government, Ambrose was a staunch opponent of storefront marijuana dispensaries, repeatedly calling for Vancouver police crackdowns.
In 2015, she angered many cannabis advocates by claiming on CBC’s On the Coast program that marijuana is not a medicine.
Two years earlier, Ambrose quashed a Health Canada decision to allow some Vancouver doctors to prescribe heroin to addicts who weren’t responding to other approaches.
That led to a blistering column by Dr. Gabor Maté, who referred to Ambrose as Canada’s minister of disease.
“There has been no sign that you or your government pay the least attention to scientific data in formulating drug policies,” Maté wrote. “It would be helpful if you were to cite publicly which studies you have consulted, which ones support your position, or how the many that do not may be lacking in scientific acumen, method, or objectivity.”
The Straight’s Travis Lupick has tried without success to interview Ambrose about her party’s stance on the fentanyl crisis. In 2014, he revealed that as health minister, she made a regulation change that banned B.C. doctors from prescribing heroin without any scientific evidence to support her decision.
The current frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race is widely believed to be Quebec MP Maxime Bernier.
Bernier has hinted on the CBC program Power & Politics that he supports marijuana legalization. His campaign has been endorsed by the Prince of Pot, Marc Emery.
Bernier also gained an endorsement from former Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary, who supports marijuana legalization.
In a profile in last weekend’s Globe and Mail, Bernier declared that his “main political role models are former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and ex-Texas GOP Congressman Ron Paul”.
“He’s also a fan of thinkers such as writer Ayn Rand and economist Friedrich Hayek, whose ideas pepper his speeches and influence his platform,” wrote Globe writer Daniel Leblanc.