Coming off an election loss that saw the Conservative Party lose plenty of ground to the Liberals, Kellie Leitch says the party must focus on becoming a unifying force.

The Ontario Conservative MP was the first candidate to announce her intentions to run for party leadership after Stephen Harper stepped down as Tory leader.

"For me it was about: how do we rebuild a Conservative party that unifies the country," Leitch told CTV's Canada AM on Friday.

She said under Harper, the Conservatives were focused on lowering taxes and debt.

"What Canadians want to know is why we were doing that, what's the means to the end?" she said.

Leitch said the Conservative Party should focus on answering those questions, especially for young Canadians.

Leitch has served as the MP for Simcoe-Grey since 2011. Under the Harper government she held the positions of Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

During the 2015 federal election campaign, Leitch drew the ire of some critics after announcing that a re-elected Conservative government would launch a RCMP tip line for citizens to report "barbaric cultural practices."

Leitch, an paediatric orthopaedic surgeon by trade, said she's studying French daily in hopes of being fully bilingual by the next election.

"I'm delighted that I'm spending time every single day educating myself in French, and spending time with francophone colleagues so I can appreciate the richness of that language," she said.

Quebec MP Maxime Bernier has also entered the Conservative leadership race.

CTV’s Canada AM also reached out to Bernier.

The party will select a new leader in May 2017.