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It is widely thought that next month’s provincial budget will trigger an election. If a vote were held today, who would you support?

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2013-12-13 at 13:11

Crossing the floor

By Leith Dunick,
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Bruce Hyer has singlehandedly doubled the Green Party caucus in the House of Commons.

The former NDP MP, who has sat as an independent since splitting with the party in 2012 over his refusal to capitulate and vote to retain the federal long-gun registry, said he considered both the Liberals and a return to the NDP, but ultimately decided joining Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in Ottawa was the best fit for his political ideals.

“Now I will have the resources of this party and will have the services of the only truly democratic part in the House of Commons,” Hyer told a packed room Friday, standing beside May and officially announcing his decision to cross the floor.

Hyer, 67, said this means he’ll have all the benefits of being in a party, but won’t be forced to vote against the will of his constituents.
“I call it independent-plus,” he said. “It will not decrease my independence. I believe it will enhance it,” he said.

First elected in 2008, Hyer has never been afraid to speak his mind.

May, who preaches a constituents-first policy, is OK with that, acknowledging that Hyer is free to vote his conscience in Parliament. May, who in 2011 became the first Green Party candidate elected to the House of Commons, said it’s a great day for the party.

“Doubling the party’s caucus in one day is certainly a very exciting step forward. What we’re trying to do as a party is change the way politics is done in Canada,” she said, ambitiously hoping the move will spur her desire to win  a dozen seats in the next election. 

May, who has sat beside Hyer in the House since he quit the NDP – and was also born in the same Connecticut hospital as her newest caucus member –  added Hyer has always put Thunder Bay-Superior North first as long as she’s known him.

“He’s also hard-working and also very committed to the values of sustainability, dealing with the climate crisis and has a long track record as a conservationist. So he fits our values, particularly our commitment to grassroots democracy,” May said.

“And your Member of Parliament should represent you and not the political party.”

The real challenge will be convincing voters this is the case, she said. 

"The Greens have frankly never been strong in Thunder Bay-Superior North, but there are a lot of green-thinking people in this riding and we just have to make sure that we connect our commitment to grassroots democracy and the fact your leader is not bossing around your MP." 

Hyer committed to run for the Greens in 2015, the date of the next scheduled federal election, though admitted it won’t be an easy route back to Ottawa, given that the Green Party only garnered three per cent of the vote in the last election.

MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), the NDP’s ethics critic, said that alone is enough to trigger a by-election, which his party called for in a release issued on Friday.

“Mr. Hyer has broken faith with the voters. We are calling on him to do the right thing, the honourable thing, and immediately resign his seat and give the voters of Thunder Bay-Superior North a real choice in a by-election.”

Hyer dismissed further claims by Angus that the move was self-serving and a betrayal to 97 per cent of the riding’s voters.



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Arch Stanton says:
ANY M.P. who changes his party should first stand for RE-ELECTION under that party's banner.
12/13/2013 1:20:58 PM
musicferret says:
Any MP who would sell out their constituents and their wishes just because his party tells him to should stand first for re-election with their new platform.

Any MP who stands up for their constituents and their wishes, regardless of the party, deserves applause.

Thanks Bruce!
12/13/2013 1:29:51 PM
Gord says:
Where is the evidence that he represented the wishes of a majority of his constituents. I don't agree with him on the gun registry issue. I think the issue is a bit more complex than agreeing on just one issue. Mind you, he picked green so I guess his "single thought at a time" platform will fit nicely.
12/13/2013 1:39:25 PM
passlake says:
I personally don't know anyone that agreed with the long gun registry..

the evidence is probably in the form of conversations and emails and letters he gets from his constituents. I sent him an email of support for getting rid of it and if I have a strong opinion on anything he votes for, he gets an email. It's what we pay him to do... listen to us and vote for what the majority of our riding wants..

He gave up his party ranks and support to do this.. So far, I think he's done that better than most other politicians in Canada.
12/13/2013 2:15:03 PM
Gord says:
Well, if you met me, you would know one. And, nearly everybody I know agreed with it. It sounds like you are in favour of designing public policy on the basis of coffee shop talk. On that basis, I think Bruce is definitely your candidate and you should continue to support him.
12/13/2013 4:25:11 PM
tsb says:
Oh, please! You just go to a different coffee shop, and it's not one that I or anyone I know goes to. I know very few people that supported the registry or felt it was effective in any way.

I do believe there should be some form of gun control, but that gun registry definitely wasn't it.
12/13/2013 7:56:32 PM
pylon says:
There is gun control in Canada, you have to have a PAL to purchase a long gun, and a restricted PAL for a restricted firearm...
12/13/2013 11:04:46 PM
tsb says:
This isn't even what I meant; I mean the PAL is gun control in the same way that drivers' licences and insurance are "car control". I'm thinking more along the lines of actively preventing illegal guns from entering Canada, confiscating guns that are here illegally, and confiscating guns from potentially dangerous people.
12/14/2013 10:33:57 AM
S Duncan says:
A PAL covers all those bases already and through the continuous elegibility program does so every day.

We never needed a gun registry or a licence program at all. What we need is a registry of people prohibited from owning firearms.

Nobody prohibits people from owning cars no matter what they do or have done with them. Thats because the car isnt dangerous, the driver is.

A car registry doesnt prevent any vehicle crimes or make anybody safer. Neither does a gun registry.
12/15/2013 1:45:49 PM
gotcha says:
Party Politics is the Problem Federally & Provincially. It doesn't matter what Bruce does for his constituents or what party he belongs to; he has little if any influence on any outcome. Its the leader of the party in power even with a minority that has the say as well as a few close unelected friends in their inner office that do the deals with threats and bullying. E.G. Harper & Wynne
12/13/2013 5:14:15 PM
unknowncronik says:
regardless of WHOM is in office,

someone will always have a complaint...
12/16/2013 1:33:02 PM
DRL1979 says:
I respect the fact that Mr. Hyer "represents" his constituents but why not stay an independent? I respected that more than his move to the Greens. I am curious to see how this plays out in 2015. I personally don't think the people of Thunder Bay were voting for the name of the candidate as much as they were for the party. Also, I agree with the earlier statement made about having a by-election. When you decide to switch parties you should let the people of your riding decide if they still want your representation.
12/13/2013 2:03:36 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
Guess it must be fairly easy to be a 'Truly Democratic Party' when you are a party of one...Hyer and Rafferty voted the way they did for their own survival, not out of any independence...they just misread the parties determination to keep their members in line...
12/13/2013 2:11:26 PM
lewie35 says:
Another one jumps the fence.I dont think he will see the house of commons in the next election.
12/13/2013 2:42:00 PM
pc says:
I never thought I would live in a Green Party Riding. Time for a bi election or something to get rid of this useless MP.
He said he couldn't get things done as an independent what does he think he can do for this area as a Greenie.
He is a very personable man but his politics stink.
12/13/2013 2:57:30 PM
hotchoc says:
It is a sad commentary that our MP's are given such a free ride on almost everything. Rarely public criticism regardless of how ineffective they are in obtaining support for us. Is that not what we expect? Do we not want government support for improvements to our health care, our transportation system, support to create jobs in our area.

Besides qualifying for gold plated pensions, exactly what have our MP's accomplished. Spare me the issues they raise. What have they achieved. These two guys were allowed to vote to disband the registry even though the NDP party supported it because the NDP did not have enough votes with the Liberals to maintain it. That is why. This was not the issue that drove Hyer out. If so how was Rafferty able to stay behind.

I do not like the NDP but Bruce was elected to carry that banner and those policies. He pledged to support those ideals. Seems he had a change of heart. Yet the free ride for these overpaid, underachieving pension grabbers continues
12/13/2013 4:15:21 PM
TWM says:
Whoa... Hyer was voted in under the NDP in this riding, now he's under the green party, excuse me, but his constituents may not agree with the green idealogies.
12/13/2013 5:09:55 PM
tadzup says:
It's disturbing that he's allowed to keep his job - he was voted in as NDP, and he should have had to be re-elected to keep his position as MP.

I highly doubt he will be re-elected, I know I absolutely will not be voting for someone who flip-flops all over the place.
12/13/2013 5:18:41 PM
spazz says:
refusing to have your vote "whipped" is hardly flip flopping... he took a stand for something and lost the easy ride of Thunder Bay's NDP leaning auto-votes. as the comments on this very article demonstrate there are a lot of people that don't look at the issues at all.. they only see the colour of the election signs and go from there.
12/16/2013 1:43:02 PM
Ranma says:
Where was this uproar when Commuzzi jumped ship from the Liberals to the Conservatives. All over his personal feelings on gay marriage.
12/13/2013 5:54:47 PM
Ed itw says:
I agree we should have a by-election when an MP quits a party. As for Bruce, so long in 2015. Enjoy your pension.
12/13/2013 6:22:36 PM
moi says:
Bruce who?
12/13/2013 7:20:04 PM
tsb says:
Do you guys really think Hyer doesn't already know his chances of re-election are slim? He is doing this to get more rights in the house of commons to give him more ways to represent our views there. He couldn't do that as an independent, and he wasn't allowed to do that as an NDPer.

After 2015, we'll go back to the old way of doing things: a useless backbencher MP with no spine, no morals and no common sense. We will be just as left out, if not more so.
12/13/2013 8:00:16 PM
RBosch says:
I find the positioning of Mr. Hyer a complete joke. I didn't vote for him as a NDP and I certainly do not support him as an Independent. He most definitely does not represent this constituant's views and I fail to see any clear evidence that he acted on behalf of his constituents when he made his original decision. Becoming a Green Party member should double his effectivemess, from no effect, to a party of two. There should be a proviso that a by-election should be held when a MP does what he did.I agree that he most likely underestimated just how determined the NDP Party was in wanting its members to vote in a certain way and he suffered the consequences, so we to must suffer the consequences, at least until the next election. This is my opinion at least.
12/13/2013 8:53:08 PM
Eastender says:
So, let me see now. The party selects someone they think will get elected in an area, say, Thunder Bay.

That person then, makes all kinds of promises that they know they cant keep.

The people who vote for this person believe him because he's, good looking, a nice guy, dresses well, cares about everything you care about, and tells you what a scumbag the other guy is. And he is the best person to represent you in office.

He gets elected

He is now told by his party that he must follow the party line, he is in effect now a representative of the party, not you. What?

Who does the party represent? Why the people that contribute the most cash in order to get that party elected, the multibillion dollar corporations

What? I thought the guy I voted for was there to represent me?

Non, mon amie, its not a democracy, its a PLUTOCRACY, the guy with the most money gets to tell everyone else how its gonna be.

Now run along children and go watch Duck Dynasty.

12/14/2013 8:06:15 PM
big joe mufferaw says:
Once he was elected, he changed his coat and represented political expediency. He in no way represented my interests once elected. I was even beginning to consider the Green Party as a viable alternative until they embraced him. Let us remember that the Americans consider Benedict Arnold a traitor. But even though Benedict represented the interests of the British,they too thought of him as a traitor. Betrayal is not the same as standing up for the other side. Betrayal is about the loss of trust and credibility.
12/13/2013 9:52:36 PM
tudor says:
This guy does next to nothing and gets a huge story about which party he wants to run for.

The actual story is "Hyer able to find a party that will take him". That's the story.

Do you actually believe the Liberals or Conservatives were going to take Bruce. I don't think so.

Yet here he is portrayed as having achieved something.

Bruce turned on his voters. Turned on his party but only after he got the second election in order to qualify for the pension for life. For life after 6 years of office. That is the success achieved by he and Mr. Rafferty as outlined above.

We yell and scream at City Councillors for perceived mistakes. We yell at our MPP's for every issue known to man no matter how inaccurate the belief may be at both levels of gov't.

For our MP's, nothing because they achieve nothing.

It is a very disappointing portrayal of the posters on this site. Only the people actually achieving anything receive criticism.
12/14/2013 8:24:39 AM
udecide says:
Bruce LOL, please say you are from Nipigon when speaking.....
12/14/2013 8:57:05 AM
madtbay says:
I do not agree with the green party on most of their policies but I do approve this move. Every other political party in Canada is riddled with corruption. Atleast the green party is honest politics.
12/14/2013 12:10:17 PM
Eastender says:
Too bad a person with Elizabeth Mays standards is not the leader of the Liberal party. I may not agree entirely with the green party, but it seems like the woman has a working moral compass.
12/14/2013 8:15:35 PM
corvidae says:
Bruce isn't from Nipigon, he and Elizabeth May are both from Hartford, Connecticut.
12/14/2013 12:29:02 PM
Emma says:
Hyer left a long time after the gun registry vote & after he was passed over a critic position. But funny that the Greens position bk with the vote was this:
Green Party urges NDP to vote for long gun registry
So Hyer joins May Green who urged NDP MPs (Hyer) to vote for long-gun registry. Hypocrisy seems to be the Green position.
12/14/2013 1:38:12 PM
tsb says:
The Green Party doesn't strip members of their rights when they disagree with party policy.

Both of Thunder Bay-Superior North's MPs have been punished before for representing their constituents wishes. Joe Comuzzi was first taken out of caucus for opposing same-sex marriage and then kicked out of the Liberal party entirely for voting in favour of the Conservative budget that established Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. Bruce Hyer was stripped of his rights as an MP by the NDP after voting in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry, and left the party shortly after because of it. In both cases, the party made an MP less effective by removing them from the party, so they sought out an alternative.

The Green Party has an official policy to NOT kick its members out when they vote against party policy.
12/15/2013 3:39:44 PM
emma says:
NDP provided amendments to the long gun registry which were dismissed by the Conservative govt. It would have fixed the problems instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water. So it became for or against with no inbetween. Hyer wad disciplined and not stripped of his rights as an MP. Shortly thereafter, these sanctions were lifted.
Hyer thus had full MP rights when, 6 months after the vote of the long gun, he left to sit as an independent. That was after he did not receive a critic position. Rafferty, who was also disciplined but shortly after, had regained full rights, went on to get a critic position.
The NDP did not kick Hyper out as suggested by the Green Party. And it is dishonest to state that as stated in the reply below. So much for accountability and transparency.
It lends to voter apathy when MPs are dishonest and when a Party, such as the Greens are dishonest too!
12/16/2013 2:00:03 PM
Watchmaker says:
Yawn. Mr. Hyer was so incredibly dismissive and patronizing when I corresponded with him on the long gun registry that he will never see my vote.
12/14/2013 3:10:48 PM
RBosch says: is pretty hard to be "riddled wit corruption" when youare a party of one, or now, two. It is hard to corrupt nothingness.
12/14/2013 3:17:43 PM
alarmforce says:
"Flip Flop Bruce", what's his next move..... I think resign so we can decide what party & individual we want to represent us in Ottawa. He doesn't have the jurisdiction to decide what party represent us and two changes within this elected period...... give your head a shake Bruce, were is your advise coming from, certainly not me, who didn't elected you as an NDP member, and I endorse your less as an Independent or "Green".
12/14/2013 11:02:45 PM
captain says:
Never have so many people commented about a topic, concerning a person who is paid so much and who in reality has accomplished so little.

$160,000 a year to what.

I criticized Harper for X

I yelled about Y

I disagreed about Z

Bruce and let's not forget John have done a fantastic job of saying so much about so many topics when in reality they have achieved nothing.
12/15/2013 2:54:05 PM
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