Robert-Falcon Ouellette credits his mom's drive for success

Robert-Falcon Ouellette is the MP for Winnipeg Centre. But his journey to the House of Commons wasn't an easy one. And he may not have made the trip at all if it hadn't been for his mom, Sharon.
Robert-Falcon Ouellette is a Liberal MP for Winnipeg Centre. (Robert-Falcon Ouellette/Twitter)

There was one simple but important piece of advice Robert-Falcon Ouellette got from his mom, Sharon, growing up.

"[It] was to not mumble and to enunciate your words and say something important," he said.

Ouellette now uses his voice, representing Winnipeg Centre as a Liberal MP, a position he said seemed unlikely for him growing up.

"I could have been in a gang. I probably should be in a gang, but here I am in the House of Commons," he said.

A young Robert-Falcon Ouellette (right) and his Mom, Sharon (centre). (Courtesy Robert-Falcon Ouellette)
Despite struggling with depression, poverty and being a single parent, Ouellette's mother was determined to set her son up for success.

With a minimum wage job, a slightly exaggerated letter of employment and a business suit, Sharon secured a $15,000 dollar loan to send her son to Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Calgary.

Sharon worked at a number of odd jobs in sales, cleaning, and newspaper delivery to make ends meet and pay her son's way through private school.

"She paid that loan back," he said. "There might a meal waiting in stove cooking very slowly when I'd get home at seven and my mom might come in at two in the morning."

Ouellette credits his mom's unflagging positivity and strong leadership with helping him through difficult times.

"I think she was a master leader. She wasn't a CEO of any corporation but she knew how to motivate me," he said.

Throughout all the pressures and the sleepless nights of his 2014 Winnipeg mayoral campaign, Ouellette held onto the memory of his mother's hard work and determination to keep him going.

"I thought about my mother and I said she would just keep going, [so] I'm going to keep going," he said.