Parliament: Tribute to Rona Ambrose

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to my colleague and friend.

I met the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland 11 years ago.

I was not in politics yet. I was executive director of the Sierra Club Canada when I first sat down at a table opposite the current interim leader of the Conservative Party. She was then-minister of environment. It is a tribute to her personal characteristics of fairness, kindness and just plain likability that I could not help liking her as we discussed the Kyoto protocol.

I have searched my memory banks and I cannot remember a single time in the last 11 years when I have not thought well of her as a person, even if we disagreed. We share many things, including a love of dogs and hiking in the wilderness, and we also shared much when she was minister of health. I want to pause for that period and thank her once again.

She played a key role in ensuring the quick passage of Bill C-442 on Lyme disease. We are now working together on the national framework that will be implemented under that bill.

However, it took the minister of health deciding that a private member’s bill from an opposition party leader would be okay to support. To have it pass unanimously in the House of Commons and the Senate is not about all the independent decision-making of all the MPs. Honestly, if the minister of health had not supported that bill, it would have died right there. I want to thank her once again for supporting remedies for the people across this country suffering from Lyme disease.

I also want to pay personal tribute to the fact that under her leadership and in the government of Stephen Harper, the strongest legislation ever, taking big pharma to task, Vanessa’s Law, was passed. That is solid and it is a tribute I want to pay publicly.

Last, as another woman in politics, leading a teeny-weeny party over here in the corner, everything she has ever done as interim leader of the official opposition has demonstrated that women can do everything just as well as a man.

I saw her earlier today, standing at the podium in the foyer. I do not know how she stands in those shoes. I do not understand how anyone can walk in those shoes. They are phenomenal high heels. They are very gorgeous. It reminded me so much of what was often said of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, that she danced just as well as he did but backwards and in high heels.

Hats off to the leader of the official opposition. We will miss you.