No Gold or Silver in Conservative Budget 2014
Budget offers some needed support for mining and forestry, falls short on rail, healthcare, EI rollbacks
11 February 2014
OTTAWA – Thunder Bay-Superior North MP and Green Party Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer says the 2014 federal budget, released this afternoon, contained some positive measures that will help the mining and forestry sectors in Northwestern Ontario, but that the budget as a whole was disappointing.
“The Conservatives have spent $113 million taxpayer dollars advertising their alleged fiscal record, but this budget is an ‘Economic Inaction Plan’,” Hyer said. “There are just six pages of actual costing in this budget – we’re left with 415 extra pages of Conservative self-advertising and recycled funding announcements. Large corporations remain grossly undertaxed, while small businesses and families are overtaxed.”
A Few Bronze Medals:
- One-year extension of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow through share investors
- $90 million over four years in continued funding for the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation Program
- $100 million to fund 1000 interest-free loans for apprentices – an important measure, but doesn’t go far enough to support job creation, and businesses continue to import temporary workers instead of providing jobs to unemployed Canadians
- No renewal of the popular ecoEnergy home retrofit program to help reduce home energy bills
- No new funding for desperately needed housing
- Virtually nothing for veterans
- No pension reform
- No rollback of the government’s past years of job-killing payroll tax hikes
- No investment in healthcare, including pharmacare, home care and community healthcare, even as the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has broken the record for overcapacity, and has been in gridlock for five straight weeks!
- No investment in rail, including infrastructure, passenger rail or rail safety; Canada remains the only country in the G20 without a national rail strategy
- No mention of climate change
“Since coming to power, Harper’s Conservatives have handed Canada’s largest companies $60 billion in corporate tax breaks, while the personal income tax rate has increased 22 per cent. There have been huge cuts to the corporate tax rate, to half the rate of the US, and no reductions in tax rates for small businesses,” Hyer said. “Families are being left behind as the government is padding the pockets of their corporate friends."
A real 'Fair Elections Act' would start by getting rid of First-Past-the-Post
4 February 2014
OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada today voiced its disappointment with the Conservatives’ new ‘Fair Elections Act’, unveiled this morning by Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State for Democratic Reform.
Bruce Hyer, Green Party Democratic Reform Critic and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North, stated that the Fair Elections Act “Does nothing to tackle the real issues facing Canadian democracy.”
“If the Conservatives were serious about electoral reform, we would be talking about ending First Past the Post and introducing Proportional Representation, reforming our unelected and unaccountable Senate, and ending the practice of having party leaders sign off on candidates’ nomination forms,” said Hyer. “Unlike Michael Chong’s important Reform Act, this is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
Under the new Act, which is purportedly aimed at combatting election fraud and reducing barriers to voting, Elections Canada will no longer enforce the Elections Act, and instead will serve in a purely administrative role. The investigation of elections fraud would become the responsibility of the office of the public prosecutor.
The Act would also end the practice of "vouching" for voters without proper ID at the polling station.
“To improve voter turnout, we should repeal all the changes, including the photo ID requirement, that make it harder for young people, First Nations, the poor, and seniors to vote. We need better voter enumeration in advance,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “In Canada, our problem isn't people voting more than once, it's people voting less than once.”
Bruce Hyer named Green Party Democratic Reform Critic
3 February 2014
OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands today announced that Green MP and Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer has been appointed as the Party’s Democratic Reform Critic.
“I have tremendous respect for Bruce Hyer’s profound personal commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in our democratic institutions, ” said May. “I am so honoured that he has taken on our Party’s Democratic Reform file.”
Since his election in 2008, Hyer, the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North has introduced bills and motions to reform the confidence convention, enhance the power of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General, make Canada's electoral system more proportional, enable cross party cooperation, limit the power of party leaders and make MPs directly accountable to their constituents.
"Today, democracy is in real crisis in Canada. This new role of democratic reform critic is a great fit. Too often hyper-partisan politics and mindless tribalism drown out solutions that work for Canadians," said Hyer. "It's time to reform parliament so that it's more cooperative, productive and responsive to the needs of all Canadians."
Hyer speaks out with Vets against local Veterans Affairs Office closure
Conservatives close eight Veterans Affairs service centres today in the face of widespread protest
31 January 2014
THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Bruce Hyer stood alongside Northwestern Ontario veterans and constituents as the community mourned the closure of the local Veterans Affairs office. The government shut the Thunder Bay service centre doors, along with seven other offices across the country on Friday.
Hyer called the office closure in the face of nationwide protest “an outrage.”
“The government’s disrespect of veterans is shameful, and their reckless decision to close eight Veterans Affairs offices across the country must be reversed. More than two thousand veterans depended on the services offered by the Thunder Bay Veterans Affairs office. Now, they will have to drive a full day to the nearest centre in North Bay or Winnipeg,” Hyer said.
The local Thunder Bay office covered a large geographical area from the Manitoba border to Blind River. It served over 2000 veterans and employed ten people. Veterans Affairs service centres offered clients in-home services, assistance with healthcare including occupational therapy, nurses, medical equipment and mental health, as well as walk-in services for veterans who wished to apply for benefits. It also assisted with transitioning to civilian life and timely services for survivors and families of those killed in the line of duty.
“The fact that eight Canadian Forces members have taken their own lives over the past two months is a tragic reminder that current levels of service are failing our veterans,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “I am frankly appalled that this government would even consider making more cuts.”
The government has said that veterans will be able to call a 1-800 number or go online for service, and that there will be an employee at the local Service Canada office to support veterans. Hyer is not so sure.
“The Conservative suggestion that veterans go to the local Service Canada office is unthinkable when they are making drastic cuts there too. They’ve made deep cutbacks to the Thunder Bay office, and with a huge overload of folks who have been cut off EI, my staff is doing the work of Service Canada,” Hyer said. “What’s more, they say that one employee will take on the work of ten employees who have now lost their jobs with the Veterans Affairs office closure. It’s an outrage and it’s a slap in the face to our men and women who have put their lives on the line to serve our country.”
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Support The Cell Phone Freedom Act
Got a cell phone? If you're like most Canadians, you didn't know you're locked into using only your carrier's network - you can't just switch your phone to another company, even if you're not on a contract. That's because your phone is "network locked" to work only on the cell network of the company you bought it from. This limits your choices as a consumer and restricts competition, resulting in higher prices and worse service.
We can change that with the Cell Phone Freedom Act, which mandates that phones must be unlocked - free of charge - outside of contract whenever a customer requests it.
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Success! Thousands of Canadians wrote, called, and sent in petitions which Bruce Hyer tabled in Parliament. Even though the Harper Government wasn't listening, the CRTC was. In May 2013 a new Mandatory Code of Conduct was announced, to take effect Deceber 2nd, 2013. Finally, after years of campaigning, Canadian cell phones are to be unlocked.
Passenger Rail for the Northwest
Thirty years ago, a world-famous passenger rail route passed through Thunder Bay on its way across the spectacular North Shore of Lake Superior. It was an important component of the local economy and a vital transport link for thousands of tourists and residents. Unfortunately, it was cut in 1990, despite being one of VIA’s busiest train routes at the time.
At a time of cutbacks to passenger bus service, rising fuel costs in the region, and when local towns are trying to diversify their economies, a passenger rail transport option for people and businesses just makes sense. Join the campaign to Revive Superior Rail
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The Diamond Jubilee Medal
Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North accepted nominations for the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal until August 30, 2012. There are many deserving local heroes who have contributed to building a better community, region and country.
Recipients were selected by a panel of independent judges, and received their awards at a special ceremony on November 30, 2012. To be eligible for the award, nominees had to have been a resident of Thunder Bay-Superior North, must have been alive on February 2, 2012 and must have made a significant contribution to their community, to Northwestern Ontario, or to Canada. The public was invited to submit all nomination forms to Bruce’s constituency office no later than midnight on August 30, 2012.Click here for more information and the nomination form
(nominations now closed)
Please join Bruce in honouring exceptional local heroes who have selflessly dedicated their time and effort over the years to make their community, Thunder Bay-Superior North, and Canada a better place for us all.
Stand up for Northern Ontario
The government is redrawing Canada's ridings, and Northern Ontarians may lose their voice in Parliament
Electoral districts (ridings) across Canada are being redistributed, changing district boundaries and increasing the number of seats in the House of Commons. This new redistribution process may give big-city Ontario as many as 15 additional MPs, while threatening to take a seat away from the North. In the last seat redistribution in 2004, Northern Ontario’s representation was cut from 11 to 10 MPs. We can't afford to let them silence the voices of Northern Ontario voters again.
Success! Thanks in part to so many Northern Ontarians participating in the campaign, the new Federal Electoral District Redistribution Map for Northern Ontario has been kept at 10 seats!
Disclosure of MP Expenses - click here