James Bezan

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James Bezan

James Bezan 2014.jpg
Bezan in 2014
Official Opposition Critic for National Defence
Assumed office
November 20, 2015
LeaderRona Ambrose
Andrew Scheer
Preceded byJack Harris
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman
Selkirk—Interlake (2004-2015)
Assumed office
June 28, 2004
Preceded byHoward Hilstrom
Chair of the Standing Committee on
National Defence
In office
21 June 2011 – 28 October 2013
MinisterPeter Mackay
Preceded byMaxime Bernier
Succeeded byPeter Kent
Chair of the Standing Committee on
The Environment
In office
3 February 2009 – 20 June 2011
MinisterPeter Kent
Preceded byBob Mills
Succeeded byMark Warawa
Chair of the Standing Committee on
In office
2 February 2007 – 2 February 2009
MinisterChuck Strahl
Gerry Ritz
Preceded byGerry Ritz
Succeeded byLarry Miller
Personal details
Born (1965-05-19) May 19, 1965 (age 54)
Russell, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Kelly Murray Bezan
ResidenceTeulon, Manitoba
Professioncattle rancher, international sales, crop adjuster

James Bezan MP (born May 19, 1965) is a Canadian politician. In 2004, he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada to represent the Manitoba riding of Selkirk-Interlake as a Conservative.

Early life and career[edit]

Bezan was born May 19, 1965 in Russell, Manitoba[1] Bezan attended Olds College in Alberta where he majored in livestock technology in the Agricultural Production program.[2] Bezan worked in the livestock and cattle industries in the 1980s and 1990s, and started his own company in 1996. He served as Chief Executive Officer of the Manitoba Cattle Producer's Association, and has sat on boards in the fields of cattle and food production. He also operates a family farm near Teulon, Manitoba.[3]

Federal politics[edit]

Bezan was first elected in the riding of Selkirk—Interlake in the 2004 federal election, and was re-elected in the 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015 federal elections.

In opposition, Bezan served on the executive of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, and as the Conservative Associate Agriculture Critic.[4]

In the 38th Canadian Parliament, Bezan tabled Motion, M-309 which sought to increase benefits for parents of critically ill children.[5] This motion became law within Government Bill C-44 in 2012 which proposes a new Employment Insurance (EI) special benefit for parents who take time off work to care for their critically ill or injured children.

In government[edit]

In the 2006 federal election, Bezan was re-elected, defeating former Manitoba premier and Governor General of Canada Ed Schreyer, who ran for the New Democratic Party[6][7]

Between 2006-2015 as a member of government, Bezan has served as Chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food; Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development; Chair of the Manitoba Conservative Caucus; Chair of the Canadian Section of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA); and Secretary of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group.[8][8][9][10][11][12]

Bezan has advocated marketing choice for Western Canadian grain farmers and fishermen. As a longtime and outspoken opponent of the long-gun registry, Bezan was pleased when the registry was ended. Bezan has also been instrumental in securing over $35 million in funding for the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative in Budgets 2007 and 2012.[13][14]

In the 39th Canadian Parliament, Bezan passed Private Member’s Bill, C-459, An Act to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide ("Holodomor") Memorial Day and to recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide.[15] This Bill established the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide ("Holodomor") Memorial Day and recognizes the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide. Ukraine's highest civilian award, the "Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise" was awarded to Bezan on the basis of a decree by the President of Ukraine as recognition for the people who have made a historic contribution on behalf of Ukraine.[8]

Bezan's wife Kelly has survived melanoma skin cancer on a number of occasions.[16] Bezan, who also used artificial tanning equipment, tabled a Private Member's Bill, C-497 in the 40th Canadian Parliament, to strengthen warning labelling on tanning beds on the carcinogenic risks from radiation caused by tanning equipment.[17]

In first session of the 41st Parliament, Bezan served as the Chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence, and was elected as the Vice President of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group and executive member for the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas.[18][19] During the 41st Parliament, Bezan founded and co-chairs the Canadian Parliamentarians for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran, which is an all-party group.[20]

In the 41st Canadian Parliament, Bezan introduced two pieces of legislation. The first was Tanning Equipment Prohibition and Warning (Cancer Risks) Act (Bill C-386). This Bill influenced the Government to put warning labels about the health risks of indoor tanning on tanning equipment in February 2013.[21] In February 2013, Bezan tabled Bill C-478, The Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act. This Bill seeks to extend the parole eligibility period for those convicted of the abduction, sexual assault and murder of an individual.[22]

On September 19, 2013, Bezan was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence. He began the 2nd session of the 41st Parliament with this role.[23]

Throughout his time in Parliament, Bezan has worked on Ukrainian and Iranian human rights and democracy issues.[24][25] Bezan travelled with Prime Minister Harper to the Ukraine in 2010 and 2015 and has served as an election monitor in the last four Ukrainian elections.[26][27] Bezan lobbied to have the Iranian embassy shut down and have the MeK delisted as a terrorist organization.[28] Both of these actions by Bezan were acted upon by the Government of Canada during the 41st Canadian Parliament.[citation needed]

Bezan was one of thirteen Canadians banned from traveling to Russia under retaliatory sanctions imposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2014.[29] He replied through his official Twitter feed, "Sanctions by Russia will not silence me standing up for Ukraine. This is a badge of honour for all critics of the Crimea Invasion."[29]

Elections Canada dispute[edit]

The Speaker of the House of Commons received a request from Elections Canada to suspend Bezan as an MP in June 2013 over an alleged failure to properly claim the cost of advertising signage he erected while MP. The Speaker made a ruling on June 18, 2013, in response to a question of privilege, to have the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) review this issue.[30] On February 5, 2014, Bezan and Elections Canada came to an agreement on a corrected campaign return. In a statement on his website, he said:

I am pleased to say that Elections Canada has agreed with the commercial value of my MP signs I submitted in my corrected campaign return on May 5, 2013 at $518 per sign. My final campaign return for the 2011 election is below the allowable election expense limit, and my personal contributions are also below the allowable limit. As a matter of fact, the total difference between my corrected return filed on May 5, 2013 and my final return is only $458."[31][32]

Electoral record[edit]

2015 Canadian federal election: Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative James Bezan 25,617 51.9 -14.59
Liberal Joanne Levy 15,508 31.4 +26.19
New Democratic Deborah Chief 5,649 11.4 -13.66
Green Wayne James 1,707 3.5 +0.03
Libertarian Donald L. Grant 882 1.8 +1.67
Total valid votes/Expense limit 49,363 100.0     $226,474.11
Total rejected ballots 216 0.30
Turnout 49,579 69.50
Eligible voters 71,331
Conservative hold Swing -20.39
Source: Elections Canada[33][34]
2011 Canadian federal election: Selkirk—Interlake
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative James Bezan 26,848 65.2 +4.6
New Democratic Sean Palsson 10,933 26.5 +1.8
Liberal Duncan Geisler 1,980 4.8 -3.5
Green Don Winstone 1,423 3.5 -2.0
Total valid votes/Expense limit 41,184 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 160 0.4 -0.1
Turnout 41,344 63.9 +5.9
Eligible voters 64,727
Conservative hold Swing +7.35
2008 Canadian federal election: Selkirk—Interlake
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative James Bezan 23,312 60.6 +11.7 $75,718
New Democratic Pat Cordner 9,506 24.7 -12.3 $19,306
Liberal Kevin Walsh 3,203 8.3 -1.7 $8,815
Green Glenda Whiteman 2,126 5.5 +2.6 $32
Christian Heritage Jane MacDiarmid 295 0.8 +0.3 $424
Total valid votes/Expense limit 38,442 100.0   $99,730
Total rejected ballots 177 0.5 +0.2
Turnout 38,609 58 -8.6
Conservative hold Swing +12.0
2006 Canadian federal election: Selkirk—Interlake
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative James Bezan 21,661 49.0 +1.8 $86,024
New Democratic Edward Schreyer 16,358 37.0 +10.5 $56,920
Liberal Bruce Benson 4,436 10.0 -12.9 N/A
Green Thomas Goodman 1,283 2.9 +0.5 $1,640
Independent Duncan E. Geisler 277 0.6 $3,516
Christian Heritage Anthony Barendregt 204 0.5 -0.4 $5,043
Total valid votes 44,219 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 154 0.3 -0.1
Turnout 44,373 66.6 +7.2
Conservative hold Swing +7.35
2004 Canadian federal election: Selkirk—Interlake
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative James Bezan 18,727 47.2 +2.5 $74,351
New Democratic Duane Nicol 10,516 26.5 +6.6 $41,939
Liberal Bruce Benson 9,059 22.9 -0.7 $55,220
Green Trevor Farley 982 2.5 $716
Christian Heritage Anthony Barendregt 353 0.9 +0.5 $10,799
Total valid votes 39,637 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 193 0.5 +0.2
Turnout 39,830 59.4 -7.2
Conservative hold Swing +1.6


  1. ^ "James Bezan". lop.parl.ca. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Special Coverage 2011 Election
  3. ^ Steinbach Online "Gov't Package Coming For Beef Producers"
  4. ^ I Channel #FAQMP I Channel #FAQMP "You ask, we listen, they answer." Archived 2014-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Ledwich, Sean. Stonewall Tribune "Bezan takes Teulon boy's story to Ottawa"[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ CBC News "Mulcair endorsed by former governor general Ed Schreyer"
  7. ^ "Former GG Schreyer to run for NDP"
  8. ^ a b c I Channel #FAQMP I Channel #FAQMP "You ask, we listen, they answer" Archived 2014-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ I Channel "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2013-07-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Interlake Today "Bezan named chair of environment committee"
  11. ^ Portage Online "New Chair For Manitoba Conservative Caucus"
  13. ^ Water Canada "Deadline Extension for Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Fund"
  14. ^ Forrest, Michael. Sun News "Harper pledges to save Lake Winnipeg" Archived 2012-08-04 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Mosher, Jim. Enterprise News "Bezan recognized for efforts on behalf of Ukrainian-Canadians"
  16. ^ Capital News Online "Debate heats up on tanning bed use for minors" Archived 2013-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Robbins, Heather. Interlake Today "Bezan lauds Canadian Medical Association tanning resolutions"
  18. ^ Brigg, Hayley. Interlake Today. "Bezan named Chair of National Defence Committee"
  19. ^ Ukrainian Canadian Congress "UCC Congratulates New Chair of CUPFG – Ted Opitz, M.P."
  20. ^ National Post "Irwin Cotler and James Bezan: Putting names to Iran’s persecuted voices of dissent" www.nationalpost.com Archived 2013-07-02 at Archive.today
  21. ^ Interlake Today "Bezan Denounces Tanning Beds in Honour of World Cancer Day"
  22. ^ Interlake Today "Bezan's Bill Up for Debate"
  23. ^ "MP James Bezan appointed parliamentary secretary to minister of national defence".
  24. ^ National Post "Irwin Cotler and James Bezan: Putting names to Iran’s persecuted voices of dissent" Archived 2013-07-02 at Archive.today
  25. ^ Nash Holos "Canadian MP speaks out against Ukrainian government's recent attack on Tymoshenko"
  26. ^ Interlake Today "Bezan overseeing Ukraine Election"
  27. ^ Interlake Today "MP Bezan visits ukraine with prime minister harper" Archived 2013-07-02 at Archive.today
  28. ^ Interlake Today "Bezan supports terrorist list changes"
  29. ^ a b Susana Mas (March 24, 2013). "Russian sanctions against Canadians a 'badge of honour'". CBC News. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  30. ^ Horgan, Colin (2013). "Speaker Scheer boots Bezan and Glover's fate into PROC's hands". ipolitics.ca. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  31. ^ James Bezan, MP "BEZAN VINDICATED IN ELECTIONS CANADA DISPUTE" Archived 2014-02-10 at Archive.today
  32. ^ "MP James Bezan says he's settled dispute with Elections Canada over campaign expenses".
  33. ^ "Voter Information Service".
  34. ^ "Elections Canada Online - Final Candidates Election Expenses Limits". Archived from the original on 2015-08-15.

External links[edit]