Bruce Hyer

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.

Bruce Hyer
Hyer in 2015
Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada
In office
Serving with Daniel Green
LeaderElizabeth May
Succeeded byJo-Ann Roberts
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Thunder Bay—Superior North
In office
Preceded byJoe Comuzzi
Succeeded byPatty Hajdu
Personal details
Bruce Tolhurst Hyer

(1946-08-06) August 6, 1946
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Political partyGreen (2013–2018)
Other political
Spouse(s)Margaret Wanlin
ResidenceThunder Bay, Ontario
ProfessionEcologist, businessman

Early life

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

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

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

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

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 and was no longer given the opportunity to speak in the House, although that punishment was then reversed, but his critic role was not restored. On April 23, 2012 Hyer announced he would sit as an independent, which he remained for a year and a half.[14]

Green Party

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

2015 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalPatty Hajdu20,06945.0+28.52
New DemocraticAndrew Foulds10,33923.2-26.95
ConservativeRichard Harvey7,77517.4-12.25
GreenBruce Hyer6,15513.8+10.78
IndependentRobert Skaf2700.6
Total valid votes/Expense limit 44,786100.0   $247,384.84
Total rejected ballots 178
Eligible voters 63,192
Source: Elections Canada[16][17][18]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
New DemocraticBruce Hyer18,30349.8%+12.8
ConservativeRichard Harvey10,93229.8%+3.0%
LiberalYves Fricot6,10716.6-11.7%
GreenScot Kyle1,1153.0%-3.9%
MarijuanaDenis Andrew Carrière2660.7%-0.2%
Total valid votes 36,723 100.0%
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
New DemocraticBruce Hyer13,17437.0
LiberalDon McArthur10,08328.3
ConservativeBev Sarafin9,55626.8
GreenBrendan Hughes2,4636.9
MarijuanaDenis A. Carrière3270.9
Total valid votes 35,603
2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalJoe Comuzzi13,98336.0%
New DemocraticBruce Hyer13,57534.9%
ConservativeBev Sarafin8,57522.1%
GreenDawn Kannegiesser2,2415.8%
MarijuanaDenis A. Carrière4871.3%
Total valid votes 38,861
2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes
LiberalJoe Comuzzi15,022
New DemocraticBruce Hyer10,230
ConservativeBev Sarafin7,394
GreenCarl Rose1,614
MarijuanaDenis A. Carrière645


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.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. "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 Archived 2010-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Official Report * Table of Contents * Number 040 (Official Version)". Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  9. "Debates - Issue 65 - November 16, 2010". Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  10. "Meet Bruce Hyer". Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  11. Made in Canada Act Archived 2009-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Cell Phone Freedom Act
  13. Northwest Ontario passenger Rail Motion "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. "Bruce Hyer quits NDP caucus to sit as an Independent". CBC News. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  15. "Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer joins Green Party, doubles caucus". CBC News. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 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)"
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