Ryan Leef

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Not to be confused with American football player Ryan Leaf
Ryan Leef
MP
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Yukon
Incumbent
Assumed office
May 30, 2011
Preceded by Larry Bagnell
Personal details
Born December 28, 1973
Political party Conservative

Ryan Leef (born 1973) is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 election[1] by 132 votes.[2] He represents the electoral district of Yukon as a member of the Conservative Party. He grew up in Dawson City, Yukon. He has overseen prisoners as an assistant superintendent at Whitehorse Correctional Centre which was his most recent employment prior to politics. Ryan Leef is also a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a Wildlife Officer and an investigator for Yukon Department of Justice. Ryan Leef has also fought in the cage as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. He is a strong supporter and advocate of the sport.[3]

In October 2012, Leef ran in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.[4] Ryan Leef was noted in national media when he claimed that the polar bear population had increased dramatically. His position was refuted by polar bear researchers and according to one scientist was based on a report prepared by "professional climate change deniers." [5][6]

Early life[edit]

Ryan Leef has enjoyed a variety of occupations prior to being elected as the Member of 41st Parliament for the Yukon including; Wildlife Guide, Conservation Officer, RCMP Officer and Deputy Superintendent of Operations at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. His family moved to the Yukon in 1984 and he has subsequently lived in many communities throughout the territory. Ryan lives in Whitehorse and has one son, Aaron.[7]

Political career[edit]

Leef was first elected in May 2011. He has been appointed to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Ocean and the Standing Committee on Natural resources.[8][9] He has joined the Canada-Germany,Canada-United States, and Canada-Philippines interparliamentary groups and chairs the Canada-Australia-New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship Group.[10] Leef also chairs the Northern Caucus and the MMA Caucus, co-chairs the Hunting and Angling Caucus and sits on BC/Yukon, Outdoor and National Caucuses.

Philanthrophy[edit]

Throughout his political career Leef has endeavoured on many philanthropic projects under the banner of Inspiration Unlimited, including his "Border to Border Trek" across Yukon. The trek will see Leef running across the three Yukon borders over the course of three summers. Leef has already successfully completed his 1,200-kilometre journey from the northernmost point of the territory to British Columbia. While the run specifically raises funds for the Canadian Diabetes Association Leef used the opportunity to promote healthy mental and physical lifestyles.[11]

Using his background as a Department of Justice defense tactics instructor [12] Leef has led "Leaders in Life Mixed Martial Arts Against Bullying" clinics. He also hosts an annual chilli cook off[13] to benefit the Whitehorse Food Bank as well as a women's self-defence workshop to benefit the Yukon White Ribbon Campaign.

Robocall controversy[edit]

Leef's electoral district was affected by illegal, fraudulent robocalls in the 2011 Canadian election.[14] Voters in the area were directed to a phony voting location at Hootalinqua Fire Hall rather than Hidden Valley School. These calls claimed to be from Elections Canada, but Elections Canada does not phone voters, and was not responsible for the calls. This is both a criminal instance of fraud (representing oneself as from Elections Canada is fraud) and a violation of Canadian Electoral law (sending voters to a phony voting location.) Complaints brought to Leef's Facebook page were repeatedly deleted.[15] The Yukon is one of seven ridings affected by a court challenge to overturn the election results. Council of Canadians has alleged that voter suppression in the riding was widespread enough to affect the election results. If a judge agrees that the fraud could have affected the election results, a new by-election will be held in the riding.[16] Leef has not turned over his phone records to Elections Canada investigators. He has however said he would speak to investigators. Leef has denied that he deleted Facebook comments to hide the scandal.[17]

References[edit]