Jim Hillyer (politician)

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Jim Hillyer
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner
In office
19 October 2015 – 23 March 2016
Preceded byLaVar Payne
Succeeded byGlen Motz
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Lethbridge
In office
2 May 2011 – 19 October 2015
Preceded byRick Casson
Succeeded byRachael Harder
Personal details
BornJames Nation Hillyer
(1974-07-08)8 July 1974
Lethbridge, Alberta
Died23 March 2016(2016-03-23) (aged 41)
Ottawa, Ontario
Cause of deathCardiomyopathy
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Livi Hillyer
ResidenceRaymond, Alberta

James Nation Hillyer[1] (8 July 1974 – 23 March 2016) was a Canadian politician. He was elected to the House of Commons of Canada for the federal Conservative Party of Canada in the 2011 election, representing the electoral district of Lethbridge and was a Conservative MP until his death.

Early life and education[edit]

Hillyer was born on 8 July 1974 in Lethbridge, Alberta,[2] and was a native of nearby Stirling.[3] Hillyer earned a master's degree in political economy from George Wythe University (a non-accredited university) in Cedar City, Utah, and took PhD courses in constitutional law.[4]

Hillyer and his wife Livi had four children and resided in Raymond, Alberta.[5] Prior to his marriage, Hillyer was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Quebec.[6]

Political career[edit]

Hillyer won a nomination to run in a Saskatchewan provincial election under the Saskatchewan Party banner in a Regina electoral district. He decided to drop out after he was diagnosed with leukemia.[4]

He made a political comeback running for a seat to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2011 Canadian federal election. He contested the electoral district of Lethbridge as a Conservative candidate and held for his party with a large majority.[7]

His decision to not attend any candidate forums after his first was a controversial topic in the riding.[7] Hillyer's absence prompted a local Lethbridge newspaper to dub Hillyer "The Man Who Wasn't There".[6][8] He was also accused of inflating his credentials in campaign literature by emphasizing his graduate education but not mentioning that the institution where he studied—George Wythe University—is non-accredited.[4]

In December 2011, Hillyer stated in the House of Commons that he intended no offence when he made gunshot gestures with his hands as he voted to scrap the Canadian Firearms Registry.[9][10] In promising not to make hand gestures in the Commons in the future, Hillyer suggested that "if people were offended they should blame whoever posted the six-week-old video [on YouTube] on the anniversary" of the École Polytechnique massacre.[9]

In March 2012, Hillyer was caught on camera "rolling his eyes dramatically" in the House of Commons during a speech by NDP MP Pat Martin.[11]

2015 election[edit]

Between the 2011 and 2015 federal elections, the electoral boundaries in southern Alberta were changed. Raymond, where Hillyer lived, was moved from the Lethbridge riding to the Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner for the 2015 election. In 2014, upon learning that Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne would not be running for reelection, Hillyer decided to seek the Conservative nomination for Medicine Hat rather than seek re-nomination for Lethbridge.[12]

In July 2014, Payne announced that he would not be endorsing Hillyer for the 2015 federal election, citing Hillyer's poor service of his constituents: "I have no problem saying that I won’t be endorsing Jim [Hillyer] just because of the fact that I know he hasn't served his own riding, and I don’t want that to happen here .... I know that he has not serviced his riding very well. I've had people from Lethbridge, Cardston area and Warner area talk to me about the whole thing, so I certainly won’t be endorsing Jim."[13]

Health and death[edit]

Hillyer had survived leukemia after receiving a bone marrow transplant in 2003.[5][14] In February 2016, Hillyer underwent surgery for a serious leg bone infection, the latest in a series of complications resulting from breaking his leg while skiing three years previously.[5][15] Hillyer returned to Ottawa after recovering from surgery to vote on the 2016 Canadian federal budget.[15]

After complaining of feeling unwell the previous day, Hillyer, aged 41, was found dead in his Ottawa office on 23 March 2016.[5][14] An autopsy confirmed the cause of death to be cardiomyopathy which may have been caused by either a pre-existing heart condition or caused by chemotherapy he underwent a decade before.[16]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Jim Hillyer 34,849 68.8 +0.10
Liberal Glen Allan 9,085 17.9 +6.75
New Democratic Erin Weir 4,897 9.7 -5.24
Green Brent Smith 1,319 2.6 -1.84
Independent John Clayton Turner 500 1.0 +0.23
Total valid votes/Expense limit 50,650 100.0     $236,204.82
Total rejected ballots 118
Turnout 50,768 66.11
Eligible voters 76,789
Conservative hold Swing +2.67
Source: Elections Canada[17][18]
Canadian federal election, 2011: Lethbridge
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Jim Hillyer 27,173 56.51 -10.45 $72,625
New Democratic Mark Sandilands 13,097 27.24 +13.02 $36,703
Liberal Michael Cormican 4,030 8.38 -0.92 $23,067
Green Cailin Bartlett 2,095 4.36 -2.86 $0
Christian Heritage Geoffrey Capp 1,716 3.57 +1.26 $14,727
Total valid votes/Expense limit 48,086 100.00
Total rejected ballots 307 0.63 +0.34
Turnout 48,393 54.20 +1
Eligible voters 89,280


  1. ^ Campbell, Quinn (1 April 2016). "Conservative MP Jim Hillyer laid to rest". Global News. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Hillyer, Jim B.A., M.A." Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Meet Jim Hillyer, M.P." jimhillyer.com.
  4. ^ a b c Hall, Vicki (3 May 2011). "Lethbridge: Victorious Hillyer says vote 'turned out for the best'". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d "Alberta MP Jim Hillyer found dead in Ottawa office". CBC News. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "'Man Who Wasn't There' surfaces on Hill as new MP". CTV News. Canadian Press. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b Modney, Dori (20 April 2011). "Conservative Candidate Jim Hillyer Deletes Forums From His Campaigning". Country 95 News. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  8. ^ Wingrove, Josh (5 May 2011). "Lethbridge's 'Man Who Wasn't There' heads to Ottawa as Tory MP". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b "MP Hillyer shot down over gun vote antics". CBC News. Canadian Press. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  10. ^ Rabson, Mia (7 December 2011). "Hillyer sticks to his 'guns'". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  11. ^ Bolen, Michael (2 March 2012). "Jim Hillyer: Pat Martin's Speech On Robocalls And Second World War Veteran Elicits Eye Roll From Tory MP". Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  12. ^ Ashbee, Stan (14 July 2014). "Lethbridge MP Hillyer to seek re-election but in Medicine Hat". Sunny South News. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Jim Hillyer Won't get Payne's Endorsement for Conservative Nomination". CHAT-TV. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Alberta Conservative MP Jim Hillyer dies at age 41". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  15. ^ a b Levitz, Stephanie (23 March 2016). "Party confirms Alberta Conservative MP Jim Hillyer dead at age 41". CFJC Today. Canadian Press. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  16. ^ "MP Jim Hillyer died of heart attack, autopsy confirms". CBC News. Canadian Press. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  17. ^ "October 19, 2015 Election Results — Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  18. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 15 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]