Bruce Hyer says after two months as an independent, he feels it's working well.
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Bruce Hyer will remain seated as an independent for at least a year.
First elected to the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding in 2008, the MP quit the NDP on April 23, causing turmoil inside and outside the party. While Hyer said those who voted him into office in the 2011 federal election because of his party are upset by his decision, he believes the majority of his constituents still support him.
Business on Parliament Hill is going quite well, he added.
“I get a question a week, a statement almost every week. I get a lot more speaking time,” said Hyer. “I think it’s working very well. The litmus test for me is can I represent my constituents better or not better and I think it’s truly better.”
Hyer cited a dysfunctional parliament that put party politics over democracy as the top reason for leaving the NDP two months ago.
While he still philosophically agrees with his former party most of the time, he said it’s a relief to look at each piece of legislation or amendment and assess how he feels about, and how he believes his constituents feel about it, without any party pressures.
And while he said he’s been wooed by other parties to join their ranks, he will remain an independent MP for at least a year.
“Being an independent I think is working well for me and the constituents,” he said. “For now, I’m going to stay right where I am.”
Lakehead University political science professor Laure Paquette said Hyer should be worried about being an independent by the time the next federal election comes along.
“Without the party affiliation, very few independents get elected,” she said, adding that even NDP seats are never safe.
According to statements Hyer has made to the media and on social media outlets, Paquette said she wonders if he really understands how parties function in Canadian Parliament.
“That is to say party discipline is essential,” she said. “He seems to me to have been burning some bridges because of this lack of understanding or maybe he does understand and he doesn’t care.”
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