Born In: Valleyview, Alberta, Canada
Rona Ambrose is a former Canadian politician who served as a Member of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition and the interim leader of the Conservative Party. Born in Alberta, she harboured feminist sentiments as a teenager and following her graduation from high school, she completed her college degrees in political science and women’s and gender studies. Immediately after college graduation, she began working as a volunteer for organizations that worked towards women empowerment. In 2004, she was elected into the Canadian Parliament representing the riding of Edmonton-Spruce Grove. In the following few years, she handled many positions in the Canadian cabinet, such as the Minister of the Environment, Minister of Health, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women etc. In November 2015, she was named the interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, a position which she left in 2017, the year she announced her retirement from the politics. She later launched an NGO that motivated women to take up public service as a career choice. Since May 2020, she has been serving on the board of directors of an e-cigarette company named Juul.
Also Known As: Ronalee Chapchuk Ambrose
Spouse/Ex-: J. P. Veitch, Bruce Ambrose (m. 1994–2011)
father: James Chapchuk
mother: Colleen Clark
Born Country: Canada
education: University of Victoria, University of Alberta
Rona Ambrose was born Ronalee Chapchuk, on March 15, 1969, in Valleyview, Alberta, to Colleen and James Chapchuk, into an upper middle-class family. Her father James worked as an executive in an oil company and his job had him travelling to many countries. Rona grew up with two brothers James and Morley Chapchuk.
Rona spent nine years of her life in Brazil and studying at an international school there. The family later shifted to Borneo, Singapore and Egypt. She learned about many different cultures during her schooling in overseas schools. She was a quick learner and before she returned back to Canada with her family, in her mid-teen years, she had learned Spanish and Portuguese languages.
Following her high school graduation from a Canadian school, she opted to pursue her higher education from the University of Victoria, from where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in women’s and gender studies. Following her bachelor’s degree, she enrolled in the University of Alberta, from where she earned a master’s degree in political science.
She had made it her life’s mission to work towards women empowerment. Following her college graduation, she began working at Edmonton Women’s Shelter as a volunteer. She worked there for a long time. Additionally, she has also worked as a volunteer at the Victoria Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre.
Seeing her community work, she was introduced to the Conservative Party politics by another young politician James Rajotte. In west Edmonton, the riding of Edmonton-Spruce Grove was newly created before the 2004 federal election. In the election, she contested from the Conservative Party and won the MP seat from the newly created riding.
She came into limelight in 2005 when she made a fiery speech in Parliament directed towards a liberal minister named Ken Dryden. She spoke about the women empowerment and said that working women did not need old white men to make life choices on their behalf. Her popularity soared and in the 2006 election, she was re-elected from her riding of Edmonton-Spruce Grove.
She raised a strong voice against the unrealistic targets the Kyoto Protocol had set. It was an international treaty to cut the discharge of green-house gases in the environment. She said that Canada needs to set realistic expectations and also mentioned that she was in touch with people from many countries who were finding themselves in the same situation.
As her response to the Kyoto Protocol, in October 2006, she launched the Clean Air Act in Canada, which aimed at substantially reducing the release of greenhouse gases in the environment. In addition, she rolled out many other policies regarding vehicles and industries that aimed to reduce air pollution. She insisted that the state governments and the central governments will have to work together to meet the goals.
However, during her term as the Environment Minister, also received criticism for curbing the freedom of speech in the case of Mark Tushingham, a scientist working with the Environment Ministry. Mark was stopped from speaking at the launch of his science fiction novel ‘Hotter Than Hell’. It was a futuristic book set in a world where global warming has taken over the world. Rona said that he was stopped from speaking at the event as he was still working with the ministry and that his words would have been taken as the words from the ministry.
In late 2006, news emerged that the Canadian cabinet could be shuffled, which took place in early 2007. Rona was shifted to the ministry of Western Economic Diversification and the ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. In addition, she was also appointed the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
In 2008, she was appointed as the Labour Minister, later in 2010, she was handed over the ministry of Public Works and Government Services. Further in April 2010, she was made the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, replacing Helena Guergis.
One of her biggest achievements as an MP was the rescue operation of 1000 Yazidi women and girls who had been sexually enslaved by the ISIS terrorists. She worked closely with Nadia Murad, a Yazidi refugee. She also pushed the House of Commons to recognize the Yazidi persecution a genocide. She ensured the safe arrival of over 1000 refugee women to Canada and providing their means of survival.
In 2015, the Canadian Liberals defeated the conservatives and the Conservative Party became a minority in the parliament. Following the election, Stephen Harper resigned from his position as the party leader. Rona announced that she would contest for the position of the party leader and in November 2015, she was elected to the position, becoming the third women in the Canadian history to achieve the feat of becoming an opposition leader.
In July 2017, a new United Conservative Party of Canada was formed and it was speculated that Rona would be one of the candidates for the leadership of the newly formed party. Rona denied associating with the party in any fashion.
In 2020, she joined the board of directors of the e-cigarette company named Juul.
Rona Ambrose married Bruce Ambrose in 1994. The couple divorced in 2011. Rona then married a businessman named J.P. Veitch. She has three children.
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