Rona Ambrose – WOMAN of ACTION™



A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life the youngest Canadian ever to sit in the Cabinet, one that has reached above most in the corporate world among women and has thrived, leading in a world traditionally worked by men. As a leader among women, one of her passions dictates that improving the prospects of young women in Canada, namely ‘education, financial literacy, internships, safety and business leadership with a special focus on honour killings, Aboriginal women and all girls.’

Up Close and Personal, Talks Passionately About Lifelong Mission to Help Women Succeed



rona profile

Rona Ambrose




Ronalee “Rona” Ambrose, PC, MP (born March 15, 1969) is a Canadian politician and a Member of Parliament since 2004. She serves as the Minister of Health, and Vice-Chair of the Treasury Board Cabinet committee.

In the previous Parliament, she was Canada’s Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. She has been a Conservative member of the Canadian House of Commons from Edmonton–Spruce Grove since 2004. She is a former communication consultant and public policy consultant for the Alberta government. When the Conservative party was in opposition, she served as its Intergovermental Affairs critic.

RONA STRONG WOMENAmbrose was born in Valleyview, Alberta and grew up both in Brazil and in Parkland County, Alberta. In addition to English, she also speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish. Ambrose has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria and a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Alberta.

News stories began to appear in late 2006 of a possible Cabinet shuffle that included shifting Ambrose from her environment portfolio. When she was appointed Minister of the Environment in 2006, she was the ‘youngest woman to be appointed to Cabinet in Canadian history‘.

On January 4, 2007, Ambrose moved from environment to become Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs as well as President of the Queen’s Privy Council. The Environment portfolio went to John Baird, the former President of the Treasury Board.

On January 19, 2010, Ambrose succeeded Christian Paradis and was named the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. On April 9, 2010 she was also named Minister responsible for the Status of Women after Helena Guergis was dismissed from Cabinet. On July 15, 2013, Ambrose was made Minister of Health and retained the title of Minister of Western Economic Diversification.

Minister responsible for the Status of Women

On September 26, 2012, Ambrose was in the news again having voted in favor 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 and prompted a call for her resignation. The motion was eventually voted down.

Ambrose responded to her critics, stating her concern of discrimination against girls that is made possible by sex-selection abortion. Pro-Life groups praised Ambrose for supporting the Motion.

As Minister for the Status of Women, she worked tirelessly to address the problem of violence against women and girls. She has shown leadership by raising awareness of honour crimes in Canada and promoting equal rights for Aboriginal women.

Rona Ambrose at the Status of Women CommitteeStatus of Women Committee in 2013

Before I proceed, I would like to introduce my officials from the department who are here today. I’m joined today by Suzanne Clément, the head of agency at Status of Women Canada; Linda Savoie, who is our director general of the women’s program; and Johanne Tremblay, who is our chief financial officer. I want to thank them for joining us at the committee and making time to be here with us.

In addition to discussing the main estimates, Madam Chair, I’d like to update you—because it’s been a little while since I’ve had a chance to see all of you—on some of our current work and also highlight some of our recent achievements, particularly in the areas of recognizing the International Day of the Girl, which all political parties were involved in; gender-based analysis, which we’ve been working on with other government departments; and supporting grassroots projects through our women’s program.

First, let me congratulate the committee for undertaking its current study on improving the economic prospects for Canadian girls. It is an important issue and I look forward to your report.

The main estimates, of course, for Status of Women Canada, you know from the report, will be $29.4 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, and of this amount $18.9 million will be allocated for grants and contributions under the women’s program. As you know, our government support for community-based women’s projects has almost doubled since we took office, and it’s at its highest level ever….

IN her own words …

ronacoverRona Ambrose is nine years into a successful career as the Minister of Parliament with Canada’s Conservative party for Edmonton-Spruce Grove. During this time her impressive resume also includes serving as Minister of the Environment, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Labour, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and she currently juggles Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Status of Women Canada.

Ambrose holds most dear to her heart the Status of Women title and said she has been passionate about women’s issues since she was a child. She grew up in an oil family in rural Alberta. Her father often travelled out of country for work and Ambrose witnessed first-hand injustices toward women while living in third world countries as a young girl.

When I was little I thought that I should be a judge,” said Ambrose upon recollecting her childhood.

“I don’t know where that came from but my mom said when I was little I always had a sense of justice, right and wrong and wanting to help people. I think I outgrew it fairly quickly, but it’s pretty funny because it’s my first memory. I think I thought I should be a judge because in my mind that meant justice and you could help people. Because I lived in a number of third world countries growing up I also feel that’s one of the reasons I feel so passionately about girls in particular. It’s always stuck with me and I can’t remember not being involved around issues involving women and girls.”

Ambrose said while growing up she was also surrounded by women with strong roles in her community. The family was actively involved with volunteering and particularly with organizations that helped women and girls.

She pursued a Master of Arts degree in political science because she was interested in happenings in her community, government and how it is run and international government relations.

“It all for me was around issues of fairness and equality and how citizens were treated by government. All of those things mattered to me,” said Ambrose.

Getting Into Politics

She went on to work in and serve as a public servant with the Alberta government but it wasn’t until her early 30s that she decided to get involved with politics.

“I never thought of going into politics. After that I decided to run for office. Interestingly, it wasn’t something I wanted to do from a young age. It just speaks to the fact even to the women in my generation- if I imagined myself as a public servant why didn’t I imagine myself as a political leader? I look back now and I wonder if it’s because there weren’t very many role models and there weren’t very much opportunities for me to get involved.”

Back in 2004 Ambrose made the decision to run for MP and began campaigning only to find she was met with criticism from people who didn’t believe she was capable.

“I remember when I first ran for office I stood on the door step of a man who told me he would never vote for me because I was a woman.”

She pondered walking away and leaving the man with his staunch opinion but she decided to press him further where it might create a shift in opinion.

I said to him, “Well do you have a daughter, or a sister?” And he said he had a daughter. So I asked him, “Could you imagine if this was her passion and this was her path and you told her that she couldn’t do this because she was a woman?” You should’ve seen the look on his face change.

More challenges presented themselves and Ambrose had other men tell her that they didn’t think a woman, especially one of her petite stature, would be tough enough to be in politics let alone stand up in the House of Commons and stand up for their issues.

“It was interesting. You face all these perceptions people have like are you going to be tough enough, do you yell loud enough? All these things they expect big guys to do. But I just thought ‘They just don’t know me and they don’t know that you can be just as tough and I can be tough. I have a lot of confidence, skills and strengths that I brought to the table and I wanted to contribute. I just felt that I would show them and that I would show them that I would be a good representative.”

(continued …)

Taking Action …

rona honor killingsVANCOUVER — The death of 16-year-old Asqa Parvez at the hands of her own family was top of mind for federal Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose on Friday, as she announced funding for a program that will try to tap the perpetrators of so-called “honour” crimes for information on how to prevent them.

Ambrose said the Mississauga, Ont., teen sought help at a shelter, but was returned to the care of her parents.

“Unfortunately, the violence was being perpetrated by the family, in general, by the father and the brother. She ended up being killed,” Ambrose said at a news conference in Vancouver.

“It’s an issue that takes place across many different ethnic communities and cultural communities, but it is a real issue and we need to address violence against women and girls in every community, in every culture in which it exists across Canada,” Ambrose told volunteers and staff at MOSAIC, a multicultural and immigrant service organization.

The federal government will provide $200,000 to the group for a two-year project that will include consulting boys and men in multicultural communities to better understand the issues behind ethnic gender violence.

Ambrose said there have been 19 murders on record that are considered honour killings.

Rona Ambrose, Public Works Minister, A Rising Star In Ottawa

Rona AmbroseOTTAWA – Rona Ambrose listens intently as a gaggle of Girl Guides show her their sashes and explain their badges.

You’re a pathfinder,” says the minister for the status of women, correctly identifying an older teenager wearing the green of guiding’s upper ranks. Inside the school gym, the Guides gravitate to Ambrose, who, in a pair of funky olive-coloured heels, is still shorter than some of the girls.

This is the flip-side to Ambrose’s ministerial life — her alternate universe as Public Works minister looks more like a recent military trade show in Ottawa: overwhelmingly male, the badges on military uniforms rather than sashes and the dollar figures staggering compared to a modest funding announcement for the International Day of the Girl. READ MORE

Environmental groups demand Health Minister Rona Ambrose Take Action on bee-killing pesticide

BEESTORONTO — Environmental groups want federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose to reconsider Health Canada’s decision to reapprove a pesticide — severely restricted in Europe — for use on fruits, potatoes and turf, and linked to massive bee die-offs in Canada.

Lawyers from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Ecojustice have filed a Notice of Objection with the health minister on behalf of Sierra Club Canada, Wilderness Committee, David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre.

The objection concerns Health Canada’s recent decision to renew the registration for clothianidin, a neonicotinoid pesticide toxic to bees, which the groups say should be banned in Canada. READ MORE

Her determination paid off with her election to office but the challenges with being a woman in politics didn’t stop there.

She recalls her first time at the House of Commons in Ottawa as a day mixed with nervousness and extreme excitement to be there.

“I was young and full of confidence and I knew it was a huge opportunity. I got stopped by security because they thought I was staff and they wouldn’t let me in. I told him, “No, I’m a new Member of Parliament,” and he turned beat red and went, “Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry mam. You don’t look like a Member of Parliament.”


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A Celebration of Women™


welcomes this leader into our global Alumni with open arms, looking forward to many future collaborations bettering the lives of all women, and growing future women leaders through the education of our girls today.


Brava Rona!



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