New Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose told CTV’s Question Period last Sunday that her caucus will finally leave the former Harper government’s “nastiness” behind and will opt instead for a more “constructive, effective” as the official opposition in this 42nd Parliament. That’s very good news. But too bad it took 10 years to figure it out. “I think you can be constructive, I think you can be strong, but you don’t have to be angry,” Ms. Ambrose said on the show on Nov. 1. “I do think that my colleagues have sent the message loud and clear that we want to be effective and constructive, but leave the nastiness behind.” Former prime minister Stephen Harper may have been worried about some of the crazies in his caucus when he first won power in 2006, but he took his strict message control too far and for far too long. He ended up leading a one-man show. A few key ministers were given some freedom and there were some talented Cabinet ministers who were also excellent communicators, but, overall, the team came across as angry, mean, and nasty which now seems oddly old-fashioned and passé in this new “sunny” era. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is demonstrating quite dramatically, it’s not hard to be both constructive and effective. But the differences between Prime Minister Trudeau’s government and prime minister Harper’s government couldn’t be starker. While Mr. Harper closed the door, Mr. Trudeau is trying to open it. He’s also tapping into this huge appetite for openness and transparency. In their first day on the job, Mr. Trudeau said he wanted a government by Cabinet, the Liberals opened up the Cabinet swearing-in to the entire Canadian public, most of his Cabinet ministers later scrummed on the Hill after their first Cabinet meeting. Even if they didn’t have much to say, they didn’t run away. Mr. Trudeau held another press conference at the National Press Theatre. Meanwhile, he has invited provincial and territorial leaders to Ottawa for a briefing on climate change. He’s also planning a meeting with indigenous leaders. He’s released his Cabinet ministers’ mandate letters publicly and he’s moving on platform promises. All this is easy stuff to do, but it opens up the government to the people. “Members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who, by asking necessary questions, contribute in an important way to the democratic process. Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential,” the Cabinet ministers’ letter states, according to The Toronto Star. Meanwhile, Ms. Ambrose, who took three questions at a press conference on Parliament Hill after she was made interim leader two weeks ago, said she also hopes to make herself “open,” “accessible,” and available “as much as possible” to the media. Hopefully, Ms. Ambrose and the Conservatives will learn to loosen up and not think everyone’s the enemy. They should engage more with the media and evolve with the people. This isn’t rocket science.