Nelson Riis

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Nelson Andrew Riis
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kamloops—Shuswap
In office
Preceded by Donald Niel Cameron
Succeeded by District was abolished in 1987
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kamloops
In office
Preceded by District was created in 1987
Succeeded by Betty Hinton (district changed name in 1998)
Personal details
Born (1942-01-10) January 10, 1942 (age 73)
High River, Alberta
Political party New Democratic Party
Religion Lutheran

Nelson Andrew Riis (born January 10, 1942) currently a businessman and is a former Canadian politician and New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP).


A geographer and teacher by profession, Riis taught in public schools and at the post-secondary level. He taught at what is presently known as Thompson Rivers University, and served as chair of social sciences for ten years. He served as an alderman in Kamloops, British Columbia from 1973 to 1978, and as a school trustee from 1978 until 1980. He was director of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. Riis was very active in Kamloops and surrounding communities, and was named as honorary member in many organizations. He is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1980 federal election. He served as House Leader from 1986 to 1996, and as Critic for Finance for a number of years. He also served as caucus chair from 1996 until his defeat in the 2000 federal election. During this period he hosted a weekly television program, spoke at party functions throughout Canada, served on a wide range of parliamentary committees and wrote a weekly column for five BC newspapers.

On the conservative wing of the social democratic NDP, Riis was a contributing author to a report by the libertarian think tank Fraser Institute on how to spend the fiscal surplus. He championed small business concerns in the NDP and founded a small business caucus. His primary area of interest and expertize was in the area of finance.

Riis was rumoured at various times in the 1980s to have been offered cabinet positions in the Brian Mulroney government if he were willing to cross the floor and join the Progressive Conservative Party.

During his parliamentary career he introduced legislation formally making ice hockey Canada's winter sport, which was eventually signed into law. Shortly after the August 9, 1988 trade that saw Wayne Gretzky traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, Riis emphatically demanded that the government block it. Riis issued a press release about the Gretzky trade, suggesting that the Canadian federal government ought to do something to prevent Gretzky from leaving.[1]

He was only one of a handful of NDP MPs to survive the 1993 federal election.

From 2000 though late 2005, Riis was an executive with Canadian Rockport Homes International,[2] a company that builds low-cost, quality, modular housing in developing nations. He resigned those positions on November 22, 2005 and now serves as Rockport's global ambassador and is focused on the company's overseas expansion.[3] As of 2010, he is working as a long term care planning specialist in Ottawa.[4]


  1. ^ Gretzky’s Tears, Stephen Brunt, p.154, Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, Toronto, Canada, 2009, ISBN 978-0-307-39729-4
  2. ^ "Canadian Rockport Homes". Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  3. ^ "Filed by Automated Filing Services Inc. (604) 609-0244 - Canadian Rockport Homes International, Inc. - Form 8-K". Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  4. ^ February 5, 2010 4:16 PM (2010-02-05). "Seen on the Hill: Nelson Riis - Inside Politics". Retrieved 2013-05-25. 

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