Bruce Hyer

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Bruce Hyer
Bruce Long.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Thunder Bay—Superior North
In office
Preceded byJoe Comuzzi
Succeeded byPatty Hajdu
Personal details
Born (1946-08-06) August 6, 1946 (age 72)
Hartford, Connecticut
Political partyGreen (2013–)
Other political
New Democratic (2004-12)
Independent (2012-13)
Spouse(s)Margaret Wanlin
ResidenceThunder Bay, Ontario
Professionecologist, businessman

Bruce Tolhurst Hyer[1] (born August 6, 1946) is a Canadian politician, the former deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada and the former Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North. Hyer was elected in the 2008 federal election, and re-elected with a wider margin in the 2011 federal election; on both occasions while standing for the New Democratic Party.

Early life[edit]

Hyer was born in Hartford, Connecticut, United States in 1946.[2] He graduated in 1964 from Hall High School, and was a Republican at the time.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[4]

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 beginning 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.[6] Throughout this period, Hyer worked as a consultant in biodiversity, wildlife biology, and ecotourism, including travelling 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[7] the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) as his first private member's bill in the House of Commons of Canada. 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.[8] 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.[9][10] Other bills Hyer has introduced include Bill C-312 the Made in Canada Act,[11] the Cell Phone Freedom Act[12] and a number of motions including the Northwest Ontario Passenger Rail Motion,[13] 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 election, Hyer was re-elected with 49.8% of the vote, 7,000 votes more than his nearest opponent. 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 Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). 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.[14]

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 the leader of the party, Elizabeth May.[15] 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 Green Party candidate for the Thunder Bay—Superior North riding in the 2015 election. On October 19, 2015, he lost the election to Liberal Party candidate Patty Hajdu, getting only 13.8% of the votes.

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Patty Hajdu 20,069 45.0 +28.52
New Democratic Andrew Foulds 10,339 23.2 -26.95
Conservative Richard Harvey 7,775 17.4 -12.25
Green Bruce Hyer 6,155 13.8 +10.78
Independent Robert Skaf 270 0.6
Total valid votes/Expense limit 44,786 100.0     $247,384.84
Total rejected ballots 178
Eligible voters 63,192
Source: Elections Canada[16][17][18]
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


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-06-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Parliamentary Biographies
  3. ^ Berkowitz, Michael. "50th Reunion: Back to School". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Beyond Politics - Catherine Clark interviews Bruce Hyer"
  5. ^ WildWaters Nature Tours - A Small Boy's Log Cabin
  6. ^ Hyer, Bruce (1998). "Experimental Log Hauling Through a Traditional Caribou Wintering Area". Rangifer (10): 256. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  7. ^ Climate Change Accountability Act
  8. ^ "Official Report * Table of Contents * Number 040 (Official Version)". Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  9. ^ "Debates - Issue 65 - November 16, 2010". Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  10. ^ "Meet Bruce Hyer". Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  11. ^ Made in Canada Act
  12. ^ Cell Phone Freedom Act
  13. ^ Northwest Ontario passenger Rail Motion "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-06-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Bruce Hyer quits NDP caucus to sit as an Independent". CBC News. April 23, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  15. ^ "Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer joins Green Party, doubles caucus". CBC News. December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  16. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Thunder Bay—Superior North, 30 September 2015
  17. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Download latest results for all electoral districts (tab-delimited format)"

External links[edit]