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2012-04-23 at 14:30

Leaving the party: Hyer quits NDP, sits independent

By Jamie Smith,
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Bruce Hyer has quit the NDP.

The two-time Thunder Bay-Superior North MP made the announcement Monday afternoon. Hyer cited a dysfunctional parliament as one of the driving factors for his resignation from his party.

But during an interview with, Hyer explained that there‘s no single reason behind his decision to be an independent member in Parliament. For months and years he says he has been frustrated by what he calls the lack of democracy in all three parties.

“I’ve never seen anything as dysfunctional as parliament,” he said. “Putting constituents ahead of party politics is just not allowed.”

While Hyer doesn’t believe the NDP are the worst violators of democracy in Parliament, he said Mulcair’s decision to try and reintroduce the gun registry and whip associated votes is not right.

“I feel it’s a sin to not let their members vote with their conscience for their constituents,” he said.

Being snubbed by the shadow cabinet is another reason for the move. Hyer doesn’t know if it was his aggressive backing of Nathan Cullen in the recent leadership race or his calls for abolishing the long-gun registry that left him without a critic role.

“It’s just another way besides whipping votes of muzzling my constituents,” he said.

Hyer said he knows there are people in Thunder Bay-Superior North that voted for him because of the NDP affiliation who will be angry with his decision. But he hopes they will eventually be comfortable with his independent status.

“I truly believe I’ll be better able to speak up for them.”

The announcement comes shortly after the Thunder Bay member was seemingly snubbed by Tom Mulcair. The newly elected NDP leader appointed a 54-member shadow cabinet last week, and did not include Hyer.

Shadow positions went to young and rookie MPs like Matthew Dube, 23, and Charmaine Borg, 21.

Even rookie MP Ruth Ellen Brousseau, who made headlines when she took a trip to Las Vegas during the last federal election and had never visited her riding of Berthier-Maskinonge, was appointed deputy critic of Agriculture.

John Rafferty (NDP, Thunder Bay-Rainy River) was given the FedNor shadow portfolio.

Rafferty said while he respects Hyer, he believes his colleague's decision is a tremendous mistake.

Muclair, who Rafferty endorsed in the leadership race, and the NDP will work together to do what they can to stop the Conservative government Rafferty said in a media release.

“So that we can undo the much of the damage that has been done to our human rights, the environment, and the Northwestern Ontario economy by the Harper Conservative government and the Liberal governments before them,” he said.

Hyer ran for the party since 2004, finally winning over Liberal newcomer and Schreiber mayor Don McArthur in 2008. He took the 2011 election with 49.8 per cent of the vote, beating Conservative Nipigon mayor Richard Harvey by more than 7,000 votes. 

Below is the news release Hyer issued to media prior to making the announcement official Monday afternoon:

DATE:  23 APRIL 2012

Thunder Bay-Superior North MP to sit without party affiliation in Parliament

OTTAWA – Bruce Hyer has decided to drop his caucus affiliation with the NewDemocratic Party to sit as an Independent in Parliament.

“I was honoured when the voters of Thunder Bay-Superior North chose me to be theirvoice in the House of Commons. I committed to them to be honest, open, and accessible, and to keep my campaign promises.” said Hyer in the House of Commons.“I have much respect for most Members in this House. But our three main parties require lockstep discipline, with little room for meaningful public debate... or for putting constituents ahead of party politics.”

“Instead of cooperation and compromise, voters often see mindless solidarity, wherepolitical parties are always right and voters are always wrong. One example is the long gun registry, where there has been no real compromise at all. Mr. Mulcair has made it clear he will bring back the long gun registry, and will use the whip. I am also concerned that Mr. Mulcair does not seem willing to co-operate with other parties on issues. And on climate change, parties are hopelessly locked to Cap & Trade or outright inaction, making compromise to achieve even piecemeal progress impossible.”

First elected in 2008, Hyer was left out the NDP shadow cabinet announcement last week. “One of the jobs of any new Leader is to unite their party, and there are different ways to do that. Being excluded from a position was a definite message that myconstituents will be muzzled.”

“As an Independent voice, I will better be able to represent my constituents in Parliament. I will focus on doing what I have worked hard to do for over three years: Help the people being mistreated by Canada Revenue Agency or EI. Work with all parties or MPs when possible to make Parliament work. And speak up inside and outside the House for issues important for Northwestern Ontario, and Canada.” Hyer concluded.

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i76 says:
Please tell me, if he wasn't able to do anything in the opposition seat what will get done now that he is an independant?
4/23/2012 2:39:37 PM
tannharr says:
I am far from being an NDP supporter. I commend Mr. Hyer for standing up and taking this position. He was shut out by his own party for speaking for his constituents! He was forced to remain silent in the House, again, by his own party! With him as an independent, he can speak for the people in his riding, and not be shut out by the NDP. It's funny, I always thought the NDP was "for the people", but apparently they are the same as any other political party.
4/23/2012 3:14:58 PM
sky high says:
Hyer was promoted to his level of incompetence long time ago. Peter Principle. In a few months we won't remember his name. NDP are like moths wings beating against a window
4/23/2012 8:35:26 PM
imhere says:
If he is changing parties that seat should go back to the polls. People voted for him as an NDP not as an Indepenant
4/23/2012 3:05:20 PM
ComradeLeninHiawathaZwig says:
'Indepenant' isn't a party. He hasn't changed parties. He has left one. His positions haven't changed, near as I can tell.
4/23/2012 5:00:13 PM
mikevirtanen1961 says:
He has stated in an interview with the CBC that he expects he will still vote with the NDP 90% of the time, and would be open to rejoining the caucus at some point in the future.
4/24/2012 8:20:21 AM
mysterybuff says:
That is not likely!
4/25/2012 12:02:52 AM
deerhunting101 says:
Time to knock on the conservatives door Bruce and get things working in the region.
4/23/2012 3:06:57 PM
TheFloyd says:
Perhaps he will align with another party. I voted for the person during the last election and not necessarily the NDP. As long as he doesn't become a Conservative, I can deal with it.
Plus, I give respect to a politician who went with the will of his constituents rather than the whip of his party.
4/23/2012 3:13:46 PM
keiths31 says:
So you voted for the person and not the party when you voted for Hyer, but that logic goes out the window if he becomes a Conservative? Seems to me you did vote for the party...
4/23/2012 3:48:11 PM
TheFloyd says:
My phone ate my original comment and what posted isn't what I meant!

My original comment was perhaps he will align with another party. I don't mind as long as it's not the Conservatives, because I don't share the same values. As long as he doesn't become a conservative, I can deal with it.

4/23/2012 6:18:47 PM
SomeGuy says:
Should of left when it was a minority government that way your vote could of been bought and some more federal dollars could of made it to your riding.
4/23/2012 3:21:28 PM
mercy mercy me says:
snubbed? the pandering didn't pay off eh Bruce? careful now, your true political agenda is finally revealed,it's not about what is best for constituents or party, it's about what's best for Bruce
4/23/2012 3:24:38 PM
hockeyskates says:
Pandering is what Raffer did.

Lets face it. Harper has a majority. It makes no difference where Hyer sits in the House. Although, joining the Greens or the Liberals would make sense.

4/23/2012 3:41:05 PM
hockeyskates says:
I guess Mulcair was busy voting for Sakozy in the French elections which as a citizen of France he is entitled to do.

I respect the move Bruce. A lot of NDP are muttering that Mulcair is not a real NDP anyhow. His foreign policy is 100% the same as Harper's .
4/23/2012 3:32:14 PM
tiredofbull$ says:
More politicians should be like Bruce and show there parties that their constituents come first then the party. Muclair is kissing up to the voters of Quebec only by putting there MP's in there shadow cabinet positions. Since Jack Layton's passing the NDP have kicked our 2 local MP's to the side. Rafferty better follow Hyer's lead or he will never get my vote again as a member of the NDP because I bet if the long gun vote ever happened again he would have to follow the NDP policy or lose his little fednor position. In politics you should have 2 votes, 1 for local representation and 1 for leader of the country or province that way you can vote who you think will best represent you locally and who will be the best leader of the country or province and not necessary the party like it is now.
4/23/2012 3:35:33 PM
She says:
'Dysfunctional'.When was it ever functional? It's all just bread and circuses, he should have known that to begin with.
4/23/2012 3:37:01 PM
pub27 says:
Wow, i'm a lot younger than Bruce and i've known about how dysfunctional politcs is a loooong time ago, as for mercy mercy me, what other reason do you think politicians become politicians?? Where else can you work for 4 years and retire with a full government pension??
4/23/2012 3:58:32 PM
jay-ded says:
As a (now former) Hyer supporter, I am disappointed. I find this interesting, given the comments he made about the NDP MP who crossed the floor several months ago...something about "you dance with the person who brought you to the dance"....seems Mr. Hyer has forgotten his own principles.
4/23/2012 4:08:50 PM
keiths31 says:
I'm torn on this. Not an NDP supporter or a fan of Hyer. I can see why he decided to leave, being passed over and still being punished for his stance on the long gun vote. But that being said, he knows the policy of the party he belonged to and decided to align himself with them anyway.
4/23/2012 4:23:11 PM
Let's go says:
@jay-ded He hasn't crossed the floor yet. But the one who brought him ain't getting no love from him neither.
4/23/2012 4:27:25 PM
sweetazmaple says:
you all know whats going to happen, harper or rae will offer him something good just to be a vote on there side thinking he will get a voice i see a sell out coming
4/23/2012 5:02:45 PM
DazeofThunder says:
Bravo Mr. Hyer, for having the courage to stand up and admit what the people have known all along. We call all politicians to stand up and take accountability for the political system's failure to run our country with integrity and morals.
4/23/2012 5:04:23 PM
yer joking says:
Congratulations Bruce!It's nice to see someone make a tough decision based on something he believes in. I'm more of a Bruce fan now than before. NDP has knuckled under in my opinion. They have dumped their original mandate and good man.
4/23/2012 5:27:03 PM
Rbosch says:
He was useless as an NDP and is now ABSOLUTELY useless as an Independent. For all you supporters out there, how do you really feel, now that the man you elected has left the Party. Respecting his decision or not, this is ludicrous! It does seem strange that he has left after he did not get a plum job in the Shadow Cabinet. Also, why would the Conservatives even contemplate bringing a person like him on board, especially when they have a majority. They don't need him.
4/23/2012 5:33:22 PM
yer joking says:
It is because of people like Bruce hyer that people like Rbosch get to post opinions of their choice and not have to worry about a knock on the door at midnight.
4/24/2012 11:05:35 AM
jimbotbay says:
i agrre ImHere,if a poitician as elected as a member of any party, and then he/she decides to take a moral position and leave that party, then the seat should be considered vacant and a by-election should be held, since he/she was not orogonally elected as a member of whatever new party they decide to join, and the political stance of said new party may be entirely at odds with the political stance of the people that elected them in the first place.
4/23/2012 6:09:46 PM
dynamiter says:
Elected in 2008 and will now last until 2015 - which computes to 7 years. Pension after 6 years. Guess he is pretty comfortable if he doesnt get/seek re-election.

From the Toronto Star

Gatens said his organization, which annually lobbies the federal government for more equitable pensions, doesn’t begrudge people a comfortable retirement.
But when people who work their whole lives to qualify for pensions lower than those awarded to MPs who were in office for a mere six years, something needs to be fixed, he said.
“They recognize the need for their own pensions after only six years in office, but they don’t recognize the need to increase pensions for the poor in this country,” Gatens said. “It’s grossly unfair.”

Rafferty must not be willing to retire yet - wonder how he will vote on the Long Gun Registry - probably will cop out and not show up.
4/23/2012 6:14:27 PM
stonecutter says:
just watched an interview with Bruce on Power and Politics...he sounded like a fool.

4/23/2012 6:23:40 PM
Big Head says:
Good for you! You want to see things happen Bruce? You said the long gun registry was bad and your people didn't want it. YOU helped to get rid of it with the rest of the Conservative Party! This region gets nothing because it is NEVER in line with the party in power. Cross over to the PC party and show people here how to make things work. Cross over and do what you wanted to do for this region. It's obvious the NDP party doesn't care about you now. The NDP of today is just after power and control. They don't care about the people here. At least the Conservatives were doing something by eliminating the gun registry. Oh, and your taxes didn't go up.
4/23/2012 7:14:32 PM
nvjgu says:
I won't vote for NDP untill Mulcair Is gone. Where do we find these people.
4/23/2012 8:14:22 PM
stonecutter says:
the gun registry reason is BS. That vote is over already.

He quit in a huff because he was snubbed.
4/23/2012 8:45:42 PM
Dunroamin says:
Bruce politics is a serious game and to win at it you have to be at the table where decisions are debated and agreed upon.what table can you go to now to help thunder bay and your riding .you need to beat the table so consider talking to the party in power I am sure your talent. Would be recognized there and thunder bay would be at the table again where you could get your points scross
4/23/2012 9:49:48 PM
Ed itw says:
Bruce who?
4/23/2012 9:58:46 PM
Harris says:
Good for you Bruce!
I wish more members would stand up like you.
4/23/2012 11:13:56 PM
Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo says:
Too bad it took him so long to figure out just how dysfunctional parliament really is, or atleast the NDP part of it that is.

4/23/2012 11:46:11 PM
Big Joe Mufferaw says:
There should be a by-election. Many people voted for the party, not Mr. Hyer. A by-election would let him know if he had personal support...I don't think he did. This is just further evidence of political expediency. Our voice will not be properly heard in parliament until there is a by-election.
4/24/2012 4:59:31 AM
freddyc says:
For those of us old enough to know or remember the past this is not surprising. Bruce never has really been a team player. Likes to "stand out".
4/24/2012 7:48:10 AM
Hardrawkin says:
Bruce Who?

He and the Harperist's should forget the gun registry and move on to the real problems. Creating jobs and fixing some of the social issues.

Unfortunately I think I voted for him in the last election
4/24/2012 8:47:36 AM
stonecutter says:
Bruce did not help get rid of the gun registry. The conservatives have a majority. His vote does not matter.

When there was a minority gov't a couple of years ago there was a "free vote" on the registry but Bruce and John both sat on the fence until Layton was sure there was enough votes to keep the registry. Only then they were allowed to vote against it.
4/24/2012 10:37:10 AM
mysterybuff says:
I’ve never seen anything as dysfunctional as parliament,” he said. “Putting constituents ahead of party politics is just not allowed.” **When you join a party, you are accepting their policies and processes. If you want to change that then you have to make change within the Party - not outside.** “I feel it’s a sin to not let their members vote with their conscience for their constituents,” he said. **Then where does it end? Do you then want to see another debate on abortion or capital punishment?** I am also concerned that Mr. Mulcair does not seem willing to co-operate with other parties on issues. **This is nonsense and has no basis in fact.** “As an Independent voice, I will better be able to represent my constituents in Parliament." **He may think so, but he will not have the same amount of research or funding available to him as he had as a member of the Official Opposition.** He states he will remain a member of the Party. Somehow I don't think that is possible.
4/24/2012 11:18:20 AM
dozerman says:
It has been made obvious that the NDP party didn't want him even though his constitutes did...what chose did he have? What reason did his own party have for keeping him except his "ordered" vote!!! Good for you Bruce!
4/24/2012 1:23:13 PM
jb says:
What a contrast in opinion between the comments here and on the Globe.
4/24/2012 1:31:49 PM
tudor says:
JB, could you be more specific. Were the comments in the globe in favour or against?

I hope that people see the hypocracy of this whole thing. Is Mr. Hyer going to tell us that if his candidate won, he would have still bolted from the NDP. What he has publicly said now, is that the NDP is no better than anyone else so maybe the self-grandizing they do as the party of the people can stop once and for all.
But better still, maybe people will now see Mr. Rafferty for the opportunist he is. He is now in a shadow cabinet, of a party that completely supports the gun registry, one of th main items for his constituency. How does he explain that. John and his new leader are on polar opposite sides of this issue. Tell us now how you are going to vote when this issue comes up, with the party or against. IF you are against your party, then why are you with them.

John wants it his way, their way, our way, every way. He will say whatever needs to be said and no one challenges him.
4/24/2012 2:33:28 PM
yer joking says:
Mr Rafferty did not really vote against long gun as he knew how it would turn out. He immediately went to Mr Mulcairs beck and call, When it comes up again we will see how Mr Rafferty votes but in the mean time Mr Hyer is walking the High Road and looking good doing it!
4/24/2012 4:08:03 PM
mysterybuff says:
I wonder if TB Newswatch is still going to allow him to put his comments on the site under his "Hyer on the Hill" column. I think he will have to be very clear as to who he is representing if they do!
4/25/2012 12:07:36 AM
newshound says:
I commend Mr Hyer, he stood his ground and stood up for his constituents.It shows Mr Hyer is a honest man, he stood his ground. I say hold your held up high Mr Hyer! Maybe this new NDP leader doesn't share Jacks vision!!! Jack Layton was a good man, he worked for the people, its too bad he isn't here today, maybe things like this wouldn't happen!!
4/25/2012 5:47:49 PM
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