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Bev Oda
Bev Oda UNDP 2010.jpg
Oda in 2011
Minister for International Cooperation
In office
August 14, 2007 – July 4, 2012
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Josée Verner
Succeeded by Julian Fantino
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women
In office
February 6, 2006 – August 14, 2007
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Liza Frulla (Canadian Heritage)
Succeeded by Josée Verner
Member of Parliament
for Durham
In office
June 28, 2004 – July 31, 2012
Preceded by Alex Shepherd
Succeeded by Erin O'Toole
Personal details
Beverley Joan Oda

(1944-07-27) July 27, 1944 (age 79)
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Political party Conservative
Domestic partner Don MacPherson (until 1998)
Residences Orono, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater University of Toronto
Lakeshore Teachers College
Profession Broadcasting executive, communication consultant, teacher
Portfolio Minister of Canadian Heritage (2006–2007);
Minister for International Cooperation (2007–2012)

Beverley Joan "Bev" Oda PC (born July 27, 1944) is a retired Canadian politician. She was a member of the House of Commons of Canada, as well as the first Japanese-Canadian MP and cabinet minister in Canadian history. She represented the riding of Durham for the Conservative Party of Canada. She was appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women on February 6, 2006. She was appointed Minister for International Cooperation on August 14, 2007. On July 3, 2012, Oda announced she was resigning her seat in the House of Commons effective at the end of the month following public controversy about her spending habits; she was dropped from Cabinet the following day.

Early life, education

Oda, a sansei, was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her mother was interned at Bay Farm in 1942, and her father went to southwestern Ontario to work on a sugar beet farm. He moved to Fort William to do millwork (where he met his wife) and later to Mississauga, Ontario. Oda has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and studied at Lakeshore Teacher's College. A longtime resident of Mississauga, Oda taught at schools in the area. Following her private sector career, Oda moved to Orono, Ontario in 1999.

Broadcasting career

She began her broadcasting career at TVOntario in 1973, and later worked for Citytv and the Global Television Network. Oda was an Ontario Film Review Board Member in 1986–87, and a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Commissioner from 1987 to 1993. She became the Chair of FUND (now The Harold Greenberg Fund) in 1994. From 1995 to 1999, she was a Senior Vice-President of CTV and Baton Broadcasting. She was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in November 2003, and was awarded The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of work in broadcasting. She has also worked as a policy adviser to three Secretaries of State.

Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister

Oda was for many years a volunteer with the Progressive Conservative Party. She ran as a Conservative in Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge in the 2004 federal election, and won a narrow victory over Liberal Tim Lang.

Following her election, Oda was named as the Conservative Party critic for the Ministry of Heritage. She has argued in favour of allowing more Canadian and foreign programming options in the country.

On November 15, 2004, she reintroduced Bill C-333, the Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act, which calls on parliament to recognize the contribution of Chinese immigrants to Canada, and acknowledge the unjust past treatments of Chinese Canadians as a result of racist legislation. Oda is not herself Chinese, but is Canada's first parliamentarian of Japanese heritage.

In the 2006 election, she was re-elected in the riding of Durham with 47% of the vote in the riding, despite controversy over campaign funding by US copyright proponents.

On February 6, 2006, Oda was sworn in as Heritage Minister in the cabinet of the newly elected Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She is the first Japanese-Canadian cabinet minister in Canadian history.

Oda was appointed the Minister of International Cooperation on August 14, 2007. As Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, she was responsible for Canada's overseas development assistance through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Oda oversaw the Government's Aid Effectiveness Agenda, which committed to making Canada's international assistance more efficient, focused, and accountable. Oda was also responsible for Canada's contributions to the Muskoka Initiative, a global effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries.

Oda was re-elected by a significant margin in the 2008 federal election, and again in the 2011 federal election.

On July 3, 2012, Oda announced that she would resign as a cabinet member and MP effective July 31. According to the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, she is entitled to collect an MP's pension of $52,183 per year.

See also

  • List of visible minority Canadian cabinet ministers
  • List of visible minority politicians in Canada
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