Writer didn’t ask me; Others did

Bruce Hyer

(CHARLOTTETOWN) - A Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal letter to the editor from December 3 stated that “Hyer did not consult his constituents” regarding my vote on the decision to commit Canadian fighter planes to countering ISIL terrorists in Iraq.

I wonder upon what he based that statement, given that he never contacted me, as many of my constituents do, especially by email sent to Bruce@BruceHyer.ca.

Here are the facts about my consultations with constituents on the vote on the Iraq intervention:

• Before the vote, I received 28 emails from constituents (and far more from across Canada). Twenty-four wanted me to vote to support that military action. Four were opposed.

• Also before the vote, I personally made 14 calls from Ottawa to constituents, selected randomly from the phone book (I frequently do this to get feedback on a variety of issues). Four had no opinion, one was very opposed, and nine were supportive of sending jet fighters to Iraq.

• After the vote, a professional polling company asked 100 constituents in Thunder Bay-Superior North how they felt about my votes on a number of issues, including this contentious issue. Twenty-two had no opinion, 20 felt I was wrong, and 58 said I did the “right thing.”

Unfortunately, it is not possible to do this level of consultation on every piece of legislation, especially under the current government, which enjoys limiting debate, and frequently ambushes the Opposition whenever possible, often calling for surprise votes with little or no notice.

The author of the letter is well known as an ardent Justin Trudeau supporter, which is fine. But the next time he chooses to speculate on my actions or motives, I hope that he first chooses to do as many of my constituents do, and express his question or opinion to me by email. I read every one, and respond to most personally. I work for all my constituents, no matter what their party of choice.

My job would be much easier if I were a member of one of the three main parties where the party whip would tell me exactly how to vote. But it is has always been important to me to be the voice and the vote for Thunder Bay-Superior North in Ottawa.

When my constituents show a clear preference, my decisions are made easier. When they disagree, I must decide. When there is time, I do my homework and analyze the proposed legislation carefully, as a single word, comma or period can totally change the intention of the bill. Then I vote in whichever way seems to be the best for my constituents and Canada.

Bruce Hyer MP
Thunder Bay-Superior North

Originally Published in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal January 9, 2015.