Bruce Hyer

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Bruce T. Hyer
MP
Bruce Long.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Thunder Bay—Superior North
Incumbent
Assumed office
2008
Preceded by Joe Comuzzi
Personal details
Born (1946-08-06) August 6, 1946 (age 68)
Hartford, Connecticut
Political party Green Party of Canada
Other political
affiliations
New Democratic Party (2004-2012)
Independent (2012-2013)
Spouse(s) Margaret Wanlin
Residence Thunder Bay, Ontario
Profession ecologist, businessman
Religion Unitarian Universalist[1]

Bruce Tolhurst Hyer[2] MP (born August 6, 1946) is a Canadian politician, currently the deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada and the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North. Hyer was first elected in the 2008 Canadian federal election, and re-elected with a wider margin in the 2011 federal election.

Early life[edit]

Hyer was born in Hartford, Connecticut, United States in 1946.[3] He graduated in 1964 from Hall High School as a Republican.[4] In Willimantic, Connecticut he worked as a police officer, using his knowledge of Spanish to conduct outreach to the Hispanic community. After graduating from Central Connecticut State University, Hyer helped to create the Connecticut State Department of Environmental Protection, where as a Senior Environmental Analyst, he worked on water and air pollution, land use planning, and was in charge of pesticide registration. He played a key role in banning (DDT) and many other of the “dirty dozen” chlorinated pesticides, and ended the spraying of non-selective chemical insecticides in unmanaged forests. At age 29, he moved to Canada to live in the wilderness 40 km (25 miles) west of Armstrong Station, Ontario.[5] Hyer lived for two years mostly off the land in the Canadian wilderness; first in a tipi and later in a log cabin he constructed himself.[6] In 1978 he moved to Thunder Bay, where he started a retail outdoor and camera store called WildWaters Wilderness Shop. He married Margaret Wanlin in 1993. Their son Michael was born in 1995.[5]

Early career[edit]

Hyer has had a number of vocations and avocations, including consultant, wilderness guide, log building and whitewater canoeing instructor, biologist, teacher (high school, college, university), bush pilot, and land use planner. From the beginnings of his days in Canada, Hyer acted as a biologist and entrepreneur in the Thunder Bay area, operating an ecotourist company with offices in Thunder Bay and Armstrong. As one of the early tourist operators in the area, Hyer also headed the North of Superior Tourism Board for many years. He received a Master of Science degree in Forestry from Lakehead University in 1997 for his scientific work on the effects of human disturbance on woodland caribou. This work was partially supported by Buchanan Forest Products Limited.[7]Throughout this period, Hyer worked as a consultant in biodiversity, wildlife biology, and ecotourism, including traveling to Japan in 2004 to work with the government of Akita Prefecture on the protection and ecotourism planning for of one of Japan's last undammed rivers, the Omonogawa.

Political career[edit]

Hyer began his professional political career in 2003. In the 2004 election, Hyer almost doubled the vote share received by the NDP and advanced their standing to second place. In the following election in 2006, Hyer came even closer, falling short of the liberal incumbent Joe Comuzzi by only 408 votes. In 2008, Hyer was elected to the 40th Canadian Parliament with a 9% lead over the Liberals.

First term[edit]

After taking his seat in October, 2008, Hyer started work on climate change legislation. On February 10, 2009, Hyer tabled Bill C-311[8] the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) as his first private member's bill in the House of Commons. The bill was passed by the House of Commons in a minority Conservative government at 3rd Reading on May 5, 2010 with 149 votes for and 136 votes against.[9] It was defeated on November 16, 2010 by a vote of 43 to 32 in the Conservative-controlled Senate; to date, this remains the only bill in Canada's parliamentary history to be passed in the House Of Commons, only to be defeated in the Senate.[10][11] Other bills Hyer has introduced include Bill C-312 the Made in Canada Act,[12] the Cell Phone Freedom Act (Bill C-560)[13] and a number of motions including the Northwest Ontario Passenger Rail Motion,[14] which mandates the return of Via Rail service to the North shore of Lake Superior and to Thunder Bay. Hyer served as the NDP's small business and tourism critic from 2008 to 2011.

Second term[edit]

In the 2011 Canadian election, Hyer was re-elected with 49.8% of the vote, besting his nearest opponent by more than 7000 votes. Following his re-election, the issue of the long gun registry was tabled in the House of Commons. As he had promised voters over four elections, Hyer voted in favour of ending the registration of hunting rifles and shotguns, given that all legal firearm owners were already licensed and registered themselves under the PAL (Possession and Acquisition License). This move was viewed unfavourably within the NDP, even though firearm registration was not mentioned in party policies or platforms. As a result of his decision, Hyer was stripped of his critic roles, barred from international travel on House business and was no longer given the opportunity to speak in the house. On April 23, 2012 Hyer announced he would sit as an independent, which he remained for a year and a half.[15]

Green Party[edit]

On December 13, 2013, Hyer announced that he would join the Green Party of Canada, doubling the number of members the party has in the House of Commons by joining fellow American and leader of the party, Elizabeth May.[16][17] Hyer gave as reasoning for his decision that: the Green Party has the best leader and platform; and that they are the only party in Parliament that is truly democratic, allowing Green MPs to put their constituents and conscience before party control. One year later, on December 13, 2014 Hyer was acclaimed as the Thunder Bay-Superior North Green Party candidate for the 2015 election.

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Bruce Hyer 18,303 49.8% +12.8
Conservative Richard Harvey 10,932 29.8% +3.0%
Liberal Yves Fricot 6,107 16.6 -11.7%
Green Scot Kyle 1,115 3.0% -3.9%
Marijuana Denis Andrew Carrière 266 0.7% -0.2%
Total valid votes 36,723 100.0%
Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic Bruce Hyer 13,174 37.0
Liberal Don McArthur 10,083 28.3
Conservative Bev Sarafin 9,556 26.8
Green Brendan Hughes 2,463 6.9
Marijuana Denis A. Carrière 327 0.9
Total valid votes 35,603
Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Joe Comuzzi 13,983 36.0%
New Democratic Bruce Hyer 13,575 34.9%
Conservative Bev Sarafin 8,575 22.1%
Green Dawn Kannegiesser 2,241 5.8%
Marijuana Denis A. Carrière 487 1.3%
Total valid votes 38,861
Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Joe Comuzzi 15,022
New Democratic Bruce Hyer 10,230
Conservative Bev Sarafin 7,394
Green Carl Rose 1,614
Marijuana Denis A. Carrière 645

References[edit]

External links[edit]