Rona Ambrose

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The Honourable
Rona Ambrose
RonaAmbrose EdmontonLRTOpening 25April2009 (cropped).jpg
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
November 5, 2015
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preceded by Tom Mulcair
Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
November 5, 2015
Deputy Denis Lebel
Preceded by Stephen Harper
Minister of Health
In office
July 15, 2013 – November 4, 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Leona Aglukkaq
Succeeded by Jane Philpott
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
In office
January 19, 2010 – July 15, 2013
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Christian Paradis
Succeeded by Diane Finley
In office
January 4, 2007 – October 29, 2008
Preceded by Carol Skelton
Succeeded by Jim Prentice
Minister of Western Economic Diversification
In office
November 5, 2010 – May 18, 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Jim Prentice
Succeeded by Lynne Yelich
Minister of Labour
In office
October 30, 2008 – January 19, 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Jean-Pierre Blackburn
Succeeded by Lisa Raitt
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
In office
January 4, 2007 – October 30, 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Peter Van Loan
Succeeded by Josée Verner
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
In office
January 4, 2007 – October 30, 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Peter Van Loan
Succeeded by Josée Verner
Minister of the Environment
In office
February 6, 2006 – January 3, 2007
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Stéphane Dion
Succeeded by John Baird
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Sturgeon River—Parkland
Edmonton—Spruce Grove (2004-2015)
Assumed office
June 28, 2004
Preceded by Riding Established
Personal details
Born Ronalee Chapchuk[1]
(1969-03-15) March 15, 1969 (age 47)
Valleyview, Alberta, Canada
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Bruce Ambrose (1994-2011)[2]
Domestic partner James Patrick (J. P.) Veitch[3]
Residence Stornoway
Alma mater
Profession Columnist, communication consultant, policy analyst, civil servant

Ronalee Chapchuk "Rona" Ambrose PC MP (/ˈrɔː.nə ˈæm.brz/;[4] born March 15, 1969) is a Canadian politician who is interim leader of both the Conservative Party and the Official Opposition.[5] She has been the Conservative Party member of the House of Commons for Sturgeon River—Parkland since 2015, previously representing Edmonton—Spruce Grove from 2004 to 2015.

In previous parliaments, Ambrose was Canada's Minister of Health and vice-chair of the Treasury Board cabinet committee. Previous to that she was at various points the Minister of the Environment, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Western Economic Diversification, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Labour, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Minister for Status of Women. She is a former communication consultant and public policy consultant for the Alberta government. She was the Conservatives' Intergovernmental Affairs critic when the party was in opposition during her first term.

When the Conservatives were consigned to opposition in the 2015 federal election, Ambrose was elected as interim leader, and hence Leader of the Opposition, until a permanent successor to Stephen Harper can be chosen. Ambrose is the third female leader of Canada's conservative party. The first was former Prime Minister Kim Campbell[citation needed] who led Canada's now defunct Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, and the second was Deborah Grey, of the former Canadian Alliance. She is also the third woman to be Opposition Leader, after Deborah Grey and Nycole Turmel. All three of them served in an interim capacity.

Early life and education[edit]

Ambrose was born Ronalee Chapchuk in Valleyview, Alberta, as the daughter of Colleen (née Clark) and James Chapchuk.[6][7] She grew up in both Brazil and Parkland County of Alberta. In addition to English, she also speaks Portuguese and Spanish but is less fluent in French.[8] Ambrose has a Bachelor of Arts in women's and gender studies from the University of Victoria and a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Alberta.[8]

Ambrose is a feminist.[9][10][11][12][13][14] Prior to her work in Canadian federal politics, Ambrose's community service included involvement with organizations working to end violence against women; including the Status of Women Action Group, the Victoria Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre, and the Edmonton Women’s Shelter.[15]

Early political career[edit]

Ambrose was first elected as a Member of Parliament in the 2004 federal election for the newly created riding of Edmonton-Spruce Grove in west Edmonton.

On February 16, 2005, she made headlines after making a remark in Parliament directed at Liberal Social Development Minister Ken Dryden saying "working women want to make their own choices, we don't need old white guys telling us what to do", in reference to the Liberal national child care plan.

Ambrose calls herself a libertarian and is a fan of Ayn Rand novels such as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.[16] She was a member of the Trilateral Commission, as reported in Vancouver's Georgia Straight, August 24, 2006.

Ambrose was temporarily the Conservative critic for International Trade, after the defection of Belinda Stronach to the Liberal Party.

Cabinet minister[edit]

Environment Minister[edit]

In 2006 elections, Ambrose successfully defended her seat in Edmonton–Spruce Grove with 66.8% of the vote in the riding. She was then appointed Environment Minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government. Ambrose's appointment to cabinet made her the youngest women appointed to cabinet at the time.[17]

On April 7, 2006, Ambrose announced that Canada had no chance of meeting its targets under the Kyoto Protocol and must set more realistic goals for cutting greenhouse gases. "My departmental officials and the department officials from natural resources have indicated that it is impossible, impossible for Canada to reach its Kyoto target. And let me be clear. I have been engaging with our international counterparts over the past month, and we are not the only country that is finding itself in this situation", said Ambrose.[18]

On April 13, 2006, Ambrose stopped an Environment Canada scientist, Mark Tushingham, from speaking at the launch of his science fiction novel, Hotter than Hell, set in a dystopian future caused by global warming. Tushingham's publisher and environmentalists believed this was because the book was not in line with the government's views on climate change, but Ambrose's spokesperson said that the speech was billed as coming from an Environment Canada scientist speaking in official capacity and thus out of process.[19][20]

On April 25, 2006, Ambrose expressed her support of the (now defunct) Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate as an alternate to the Kyoto Protocol, because it includes China and India, two large polluting nations that are not bound by the latter agreement.[21] The APP had voluntary emissions reduction targets and was focused on developing technological solutions to solving climate change.[21]

In May 2006, Ambrose criticized the previous Liberal government's failure to meet the high targets that they had negotiated at Kyoto, saying, "We would have to pull every truck and car off the street, shut down every train and ground every plane to reach the Kyoto target the Liberals negotiated for Canada."[22][23]

In June 2006, opposition discontent over Ambrose's actions as environment minister prompted the NDP and the Bloc Québécois to try and table a motion in the Commons environmental committee calling for her resignation.[24] The motion was blocked with the help of the Liberals after the Conservatives said that the motion would be a confidence motion, that if passed would trigger an election in Fall 2006.[24]

In August 2006 she stated, "I welcome the commitment from British Columbia to preserve and increase the population of Northern Spotted Owls ... It is my opinion that, given the measures they are taking, such as stopping logging in areas currently occupied by the owls, there is no imminent threat to the survival or recovery of the Northern Spotted Owl at this time."[25]

On October 19, 2006, Ambrose introduced a Clean Air Act that aimed to reduce the level of greenhouse emissions starting in 2020, cutting them to about half of the 2003 levels by 2050. She also introduced other regulations to industries and vehicles as well as a possible cooperation between the federal government and the provinces to create a system that would report air emissions. In an interview with the media, Ambrose denied that the Conservative government had withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol despite its previous opposition to it. However, industries will have until 2010 before they are expected to reduce emissions, and the government will not have final (and voluntary) targets ready until 2020. Oil companies will have to reduce emissions on a per-barrel basis, reduction proportional to production basis.[26][27]

Ambrose attended the November 2006 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.[17]

A few weeks before Ambrose was shuffled out from the environment portfolio, she told a parliamentary committee that Canada had paid its debts under the Kyoto Protocol only to have an Environment Canada official point out that the bill was still unpaid.[28]

Western Economic Diversification and Intergovernmental Affairs[edit]

News stories began to appear in late 2006 of a possible Cabinet shuffle that included shifting Ambrose from her environment portfolio. As part of the January 4, 2007 cabinet shuffle, Ambrose was replaced as Environment Minister by John Baird and became Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

Minister of Labour and Minister of Public Works and Government Services[edit]

After winning reelection in the 2008 election, Ambrose was appointed Labour Minister on October 30, 2008.[29] On January 19, 2010, Ambrose succeeded Christian Paradis and was appointed as the new Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Minister responsible for the Status of Women[edit]

On April 9, 2010, Ambrose was also named Minister responsible for the Status of Women after Helena Guergis was dismissed from Cabinet.

The International Day of the Girl Child was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly. Rona Ambrose, Canada's Minister for the Status of Women, sponsored the resolution; a delegation of women and girls made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution adopting October 11, 2012 as the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child.[30]

On September 26, 2012, Ambrose voted in favour of Motion 312, a motion by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth that would have directed a Commons committee to revisit the section of the Criminal Code defining at what point human life begins. Viewing the motion as an attempt to re-open debate on abortion laws, Canadian pro-choice groups and Commons opposition parties considered her vote inconsistent with her ministerial role[31][32] and prompted a call for her resignation. The motion was eventually voted down.[33] Ambrose responded to her critics, stating her concern of discrimination against girls that is made possible by sex-selection abortion.[31][32] Pro-Life groups praised Ambrose for supporting the Motion.[34]

Minister of Health[edit]

In July 2013, Stephen Harper appointed Rona Ambrose as Minister of Health and kept her as Minister of Western Economic Diversification.[35]

On June 11, 2015, she made headlines for being "outraged" that (in a unanimous decision) the Supreme Court of Canada expanded the definition of what constituted medical marijuana to include oils, teas, brownies, etc. from its previous limitation to dried leaves, arguing "Marijuana has never gone through the regulatory approval process at Health Canada, which requires rigorous safety reviews and clinical trials with scientific evidence".[36]

When asked why the testing has not been done when people are taking medical marijuana every day, she responded, "It is not my job as Minister. If there is clinical evidence and a company decided ... to submit it to the regulatory approval process, it would be looked at. That has never happened."[37]


In 2008, Ambrose was No. 17 on the Western Standard's "Liberty 100" top Canadian "pro-freedom activists, journalists, think-tankers and partisans".[38]

Leader of the Opposition[edit]

Stephen Harper resigned as Conservative party leader after the party was defeated by the Liberals in the 2015 election. Ambrose, who was elected in the new riding of Sturgeon River-Parkland—essentially the suburban portion of her old riding, announced that she would run for the interim leadership of the Conservative Party. She was elected to that post on November 5, 2015—becoming the third woman to hold the post.[39] Under the party constitution, as interim leader she is not eligible to run for the leadership at the next Conservative Party of Canada leadership election.

On November 13, 2015, Ambrose responded to the terrorist attacks in Paris committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Ambrose stated, "The fight against ISIS (ISIL) requires a strong humanitarian response, but also a military response ... It's important that we remain resolute and support our allies."[40][41][42]

Ambrose supports an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.[43]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Sturgeon River—Parkland
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Rona Ambrose 43,220 70.2 -7.29
Liberal Travis Dueck 9,586 15.6 +10.13
New Democratic Guy Desforges 6,166 10.0 -2.97
Green Brendon Greene 1,875 3.0 -0.99
Christian Heritage Ernest Chauvet 690 1.1
Total valid votes/Expense limit 61,357 100.0     $219,812.41
Total rejected ballots 157
Turnout 61,194 72.0%
Eligible voters 84,952
Conservative hold Swing -8.71%
Source: Elections Canada[44][45]
Canadian federal election, 2011: Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Rona Ambrose 41,782 71.10 +2.56 $88,882
New Democratic Catherine Chaulk-Stokes 9,272 15.78 +3.30 $50
Liberal Chris Austin 5,483 9.33 -2.17 $9,593
Green Josh Lund 2,232 3.80 -3.68 $0
Total valid votes/Expense limit 58,769 100.00
Total rejected ballots 146 0.25 +0.08
Turnout 58,915 56.53 +3.01
Eligible voters 104,226
Canadian federal election, 2008: Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Rona Ambrose 36,402 68.54 +1.71 $94,219
New Democratic Barbara Phillips 6,627 12.48 +2.00 $10,939
Liberal Chris Austin 6,099 11.50 -5.33 $20,611
Green Wendy Walker 3,975 7.48 +1.62
Total valid votes/Expense limit 53,103 100.00 $97,141
Total rejected ballots 91 0.17 -0.02
Turnout 53,194 53.52 -9.93
Conservative hold Swing -0.1
Canadian federal election, 2006: Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Rona Ambrose 38,826 66.83 +6.43 $67,100
Liberal Brad Enge 9,776 16.83 -8.74 $17,620
New Democratic Jason Rockwell 6,091 10.48 +1.56 $5,315
Green John Lackey 3,404 5.86 +0.77 $2,097
Total valid votes 58,097 100.00
Total rejected ballots 109 0.19 -0.02
Turnout 58,206 63.45 +3.12
Canadian federal election, 2004: Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Rona Ambrose 30,497 60.40 $73,732
Liberal Neil Mather 12,912 25.57 $63,512
New Democratic Hayley Phillips 4,508 8.92 $2,802
Green Jerry Paschen 2,572 5.09 $154
Total valid votes 50,489 100.00
Total rejected ballots 106 0.21
Turnout 50,595 60.33


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  44. ^ "Voter Information Service". 
  45. ^ "Elections Canada Online - Final Candidates Election Expenses Limits". 

External links[edit]