Rona Ambrose, interim Tory leader, and what we should know about her

Here are five things you may not know about Rona Ambrose, newly named interim leader of Canada's Conservative Party and Opposition head.

Harper's successor speaks 4 languages and has long been active in women's and girls' issues

New interim Conservative leader

7 years ago
Duration 10:09
Rona Ambrose discusses her new job as interim leader of the Conservative party

The Conservative Party's new interim leader is Rona Ambrose, a 46-year-old Albertan and Stephen Harper cabinet veteran who was named to the position by caucus on Thursday.

Here are five things you may not know about the woman who will also serve as interim leader of the Opposition until a replacement is found for Harper, whose party was resoundly defeated by the Liberals in the Oct. 19 federal election:

1. You are probably mispronouncing her name. It's "RAW-na" — rhymes with sauna, short for Ronalee — not "ROW-na" as in the chain of home improvement stores. 

2. Though her French has been described as "stilted," Ambrose is multilingual. The Alberta-born MP for Sturgeon River–Parkland also speaks Spanish and Portuguese, owing to a childhood spent abroad, mostly in Brazil. 

We don't need old white guys telling us what to do.— Rona Ambrose

3. She is an ardent proponent of girls' rights. Ambrose has been active with organizations including the Status of Women Action Group and the Edmonton Women's Shelter, and her education at the University of Victoria and the University of Alberta reportedly included an undergraduate degree in feminist studies.

She would later serve, among other cabinet posts, as minister for the status of women, during which time she led Canada's push to declare the International Day of the Girl in 2012. 

Ambrose grabbed headlines early in her political career when, in 2005, she clashed with Social Development Minister Ken Dryden on child care — remarking in Parliament that women "don't need old white guys telling us what to do."

4. She was the youngest woman ever named to Canada's cabinet with her surprise appointment, at age 36, to the environment portfolio. It was the start of a rocky tenure marked by Canada's withdrawal from its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. 

5. She enjoys sailing and is a certified skipper for large sailboats, according to an internal government interview from earlier this year. 

"I do that often, if I can on vacation sometimes, and I really enjoy it," she said. 


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