Conservative MP Candice Bergen rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, June 21, 2021. Bergen was chosen as interim leader on Wednesday and now her job is to unify the Conservative caucus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative MP Candice Bergen rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, June 21, 2021. Bergen was chosen as interim leader on Wednesday and now her job is to unify the Conservative caucus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Unifying a divided caucus is job No. 1 for new interim Tory leader Candice Bergen

People already speculating about who will enter race

Manitoba MP Candice Bergen is waking up with a new job today: unifying the Conservative caucus.

The party’s former deputy leader was elected by her colleagues to serve as interim leader after a majority of MPs ousted Erin O’Toole from the top job.

Bergen faces a caucus that has spent weeks divided and angry over O’Toole’s leadership since last year’s election loss.

The party must also start preparing to pick a permanent leader.

It will be the third such race in the past five years.

Party president Rob Batherson told members that its national council will be appointing a leadership election organizing committee and will soon meet to discuss the issue.

People are already speculating about who will enter the race.

Tory finance critic and Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre would be considered a strong contender if he decides to run.

Southwestern Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu, who put her name forward to lead the party on the interim basis, told reporters Wednesday she’s also considering another leadership bid.

Rona Ambrose, who was a cabinet minister in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government and became interim leader after he stepped down, ruled out a run on Wednesday despite many members hoping she would enter the fray.

— The Canadian Press

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