The second rise of Rona Ambrose

Tease the day: the public works minister’s struggles in 2006 are but a distant memory

CP/Fred Chartrand

Six years ago, as Rona Ambrose escaped Ottawa for that year’s Christmas break, she’d spent months defending the government’s plans to combat climate change. It didn’t go so well. Ambrose promised a comprehensive “Made in Canada plan” that, as it turned out, wasn’t so comprehensive. She stumbled through Question Period. She was even corrected by a departmental official during an appearance in front of the Commons’ environment committee. She’d claimed Canada was up-to-date on its financial commitments to Kyoto, and the official politely reminded her that wasn’t the case. On Jan. 3, 2007, Ambrose was shuffled out of the portfolio. She remained in cabinet, taking over the Western Economic Diversification and intergovernmental affairs—assignments the Montreal Gazette remarked at the time gave her “a chance for a gentle political rebirth.”

And so it’s come to be. No matter how incompetent the government has looked on the F-35 file over the past weeks and months (and years, really), the only minister who delivers her lines in the House—and at press conferences, as we saw yesterday—with any confidence is none other than Ambrose. When she stands up for the troubled minister of defence every day in the House of Commons, the public works minister is the picture of confidence. No longer does she stumble through her talking points. No longer does she need to quietly toil away in lesser portfolios. She’s handling the biggest military procurement of our time. It’s safe to say she’ll fly out of Ottawa for Christmas with considerably less baggage than all those years ago.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with British Columbia’s negative debt outlook—a declaration by Moody’s that might precede a debt downgrade. The National Post fronts Justin Trudeau’s controversial decision to attend a conference co-sponsored by a group linked to Hamas. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a death threat levelled against Justin Bieber. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the new price tag for the prospective F-35 fighter jet procurement. iPolitics fronts former U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s ineffective ad spending. leads with millions raised during last night’s benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy. National Newswatch showcases Postmedia‘s story about Trudeau’s controversial conference choice.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Federal payroll. Treasury Board President Tony Clement says the annual cost of a federal employee is almost $20,000 less than estimates by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page. 2. Votes. Speaker Andrew Scheer yesterday rejected the government’s argument that the opposition’s ability to force marathon votes on legislation should be limited.
3. Foreign workers. A mining company in British Columbia is arguing that delaying the entry to Canada of 60 Chinese miners will cost the company up to $6.3 million in delays. 4. Judge under fire. Former Supreme Court of Canada justice Ian Binnie’s report on a wrongful conviction case in New Zealand was slammed by that country’s justice minister.

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