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Rona Ambrose and Flora MacDonald: a Canadian Politics rant

The Conservative Party of Canada had its convention this weekend, and in the course of it, Interim leader Rona Ambrose took to the stage to talk about women in the Conservative Party. The talk got a bit of coverage for a rather juvenile swipe she took at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but to me that was only worthy of an eye roll. There was a different point in her speech that really made me angry, when she tried to claim the late, respected Flora MacDonald as part of the pantheon of CPC women.

Flora MacDonald was the first female foreign minister in Canadian history, and one of the first female foreign ministers in the world. She served as a cabinet minister in two governments, and at one point ran for party leader. But she did none of these things as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. Flora MacDonald was a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.

The difference isn’t trivial. The CPC was born out of the merger of the Canadian Alliance Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, a merger MacDonald actively opposed. After the merger went forward, it is said that MacDonald voted NDP in 2004, not surprising given that she was always a Red (left wing) Tory.


When Flora MacDonald died last year, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper snubbed her funeral, despite the fact it was held in Ottawa, and he was in town that day. Admittedly, he was announcing the start of the election that led to his downfall that day, but he could have easily taken a couple of hours to attend her funeral. The most we got from the PM on her death was a rather coldly worded tweet where they spelt her last name wrong.

So no, Rona Ambrose, you don’t get to pretend Flora MacDonald was part of your party. I doubt Ambrose would have tried to pull that crap had Flora MacDonald been still alive.

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