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Patrick Boyer


Patrick Boyer

Patrick Boyer
Member of Parliament
for Etobicoke—Lakeshore
In office
Preceded by Ken Robinson
Succeeded by Jean Augustine
Personal details
Born (1945-03-04) March 4, 1945
Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Corinne (deceased); Elise Marie
Residence Bracebridge and Toronto
Profession Lawyer, Writer

J. Patrick Boyer, Q.C. (born March 4, 1945) is a university professor, journalist, author, policy activist, publisher, and a former Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament (1984–1993).[1][2]

Before entering politics, Boyer was a partner in the Fraser & Beatty law firm in Toronto, where he specialized in communications law and electoral law. A major part of his practice was also in the Western Arctic as a member of the Northwest Territories Bar. When granted his Queen's Council designation, note was made of Boyer's contribution to the legal profession in authoring the definitive series of texts on Canadian election law at federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal levels.

Boyer earned a Master's degree in Canadian history and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree, both from the University of Toronto and gained an honours degree in economics and political science from Carleton University. He also studied French-Canadian literature at University of Montreal, and international law at the Academy of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.


  • Career 1
  • Personal life 2
    • Public Policy Work 2.1
      • Writer and Publisher 2.1.1
  • Bibliography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Politics. From his earliest years, Patrick Boyer hoped to be a member of parliament, influenced no doubt by the dynamic atmosphere of politics he experienced after his father Robert Boyer became a member of Ontario's legislature in 1955 when Patrick was ten.

As a university student in Ottawa during the 1960s Patrick worked on Parliament Hill for Quebec MP Heward Grafftey, then for Opposition Leader Robert Stanfield, and in the early 1970s at Queen's Park as Ontario Attorney General Arthur Wishart's executive assistant. In 1983, Boyer was named executive director of the federal government's Task Force on Conflict of Interest by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and worked closely with co-chairs Mitchel Sharp and Michael Starr writing its groundbreaking 1984 report Ethical Conduct in the Public Sector.

Boyer was first elected to Parliament in 1984, representing Toronto's Etobicoke—Lakeshore riding as a Progressive Conservative supporting the government of Brian Mulroney. As an MP, he chaired three separate committees -- on election law reform, equality rights, and the status of disabled persons. In 1989, Boyer was appointed parliamentary secretary to External Affairs Minister Joe Clark, and in 1991 became parliamentary secretary to Minister of National Defence Marcel Masse.

While the Mulroney Government negotiated major constitutional changes, Boyer, a strong advocate of enhanced democracy and the role of citizens in self-government, said "Constitutions belong to the people, not to governments" and campaigned for a referendum to ratify proposed changes. He repeatedly introduced, as a private member, referendum legislation in the Commons. It was significantly due to Boyer's efforts that the Charlottetown Accord of 1992 was submitted to a public referendum.

In 1993 he was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Science and Technology, to the Deputy Prime Minister, and to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

That same year, Boyer ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives following the announcement of Mulroney's retirement. His leadership campaign was fought largely around the issue of strengthening Canadian public life through more vigorous democratic processes. He sought to re-orient the Progressive Conservative Party as the Democratic Conservative Party, and published his policies in an English-language book entitled Hands-On Democracy and a French-language book La democratie pour tous. The leadership was won by Kim Campbell, who led the party to its historic 1993 defeat. Only two Tory MPs retained their seats in that election, and Boyer, although coming second closest of all PCs in Ontario, was not one of them.

In 2001, he unsuccessfully sought the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario provincial nomination in the riding of Parry Sound—Muskoka for a by-election to replace retiring MPP Ernie Eves.

In March 2007, Boyer was again nominated as the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. He ran in the 2008 federal election but lost to Michael Ignatieff by 5,783 votes.

During the Ontario electoral reform referendum, 2007 Patrick Boyer was a leading member, along with Senators Hugh Segal and Nancy Ruth, Hon. Janet Ecker, and Rick Anderson, of Conservatives for the proposed reform of Ontario's electoral system from "first-past-the-post" to "mixed-member proportional."

Academics. Following his departure from politics, Boyer began teaching a new course at the University of Toronto, offered in both the Faculty of Law and the Department of Political Science, “The Law of Canadian Democracy.” In 1999 and 2000 he taught two courses in Canadian Constitutional Law at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. He was made a faculty member of the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph, Ontario, where he taught courses on politics, accountability, democracy, and ethics. He became executive director of the university's new Centre for Leadership Studies. He also taught modern Ontario history at York University.

Personal life

Corinne B.G. Boyer. Boyer's first wife, Corinne, succumbed to ovarian cancer at age 57 in 1995. She had prevailed in two prior battles with cancer, a malignant melanoma in 1979 and a breast tumor in 1991, before entering a long twilight struggle with ovarian cancer. Undaunted, Corinne often said, "I've got the cancer, the cancer does not have me." She had spent years crusading for women's rights, endangered species, and the environment. In the years before she died, and largely because of her own experiences with cancers afflicting females, she fought for increased funding for women's health research. In 1997, Patrick Boyer founded the Corinne Boyer Fund which was dedicated to advancing research into ovarian cancer, improving detection and treatment, and raising awareness of the disease in Canada. In 1998, the Corinne Boyer Fund and the University of Ottawa established the Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research and Treatment, within the Faculty of Medicine. In 1999, the organization's name was changed to National Ovarian Cancer Association, now Ovarian Cancer Canada. In June 2014, at a ceremony in Vancouver, Patrick was presented the Virginia Greene Award for Leadership on Ovarian Cancer. He remains actively committed to the cause.

Elise Marie Boyer. On March 15, 2013, Patrick eloped with Elise Marie Belanger in Vancouver. Elise, from Timmins in Northern Ontario, was the first female forester with Ontario Hydro, attended Laurentian University, and is a strong athlete, gardener and gourmet chef, and natural entrepreneur. For a decade she owned and operated VERANDA in historic downtown Huntsville, providing designer services and selling quality indoor and outdoor furniture and furnishings. After marriage to Patrick, Elise relocated to Bracebridge and opened a new VERANDA store in the historic Odd Fellows building on Main Street, which she has fully restored as a heritage structure. Elise also operates the business side of Muskoka Books, a publishing and book retailing operation she shares with Patrick.

Public Policy Work

Boyer is a past president of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, a member of the Canadian Pugwash Group, and chairman of Pugwash Thinkers’ Lodge in Nova Scotia.

He founded the Corinne Boyer Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research and Treatment.

He became founding president of Breakout Educational Network, a not-for-profit public policy organization that examines Canadian fiscal and foreign policy from the perspective of citizens. Breakout has produced television documentaries, published books, and held public forums on campuses and in classrooms. Today, Boyer is Breakout's Chair of Education.

He has worked overseas on democratic development projects in Cambodia, Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. At various times he has travelled extensively in Central and South America.

A well-known advocate of proportional representation, he is a member of the National Advisory Board of Fair Vote Canada and has been a guest speaker at their conferences. He is a strong advocate for abolition of the unaccountable Canadian Senate as a costly colonial relic.[3]

Writer and Publisher

Throughout Boyer's career in and out of elected politics, he has authored more than twenty books, many hundreds of feature articles, and a continuous stream of newspaper columns. Among the books are Our Scandalous Senate (2014) Lawmaking by the People (1981), The People’s Mandate (1992), Direct Democracy In Canada (1993) and Boyer's Ontario Election Law (1996). He also authored the definitive Canadian legal texts on election law, covering all aspects of national, provincial and municipal voting in Canada. For a full listing of books by J. Patrick Boyer, see "Bibliography" below.

As a book publisher, Boyer owns and operates "Muskoka Books" and for several years also owned and operated the independent publishing company "Blue Butterfly Books", which published many prestigious and engaging works of fiction and non-fiction. Three years ago, Boyer consolidated Blue Butterfly's publishing operations with those of Dundurn, now Canada's largest independent publishing house, where he is Editor-at-Large for books of politics and history, as well as General Editor for Dundurn's new Point of View line of books. Dundurn president Kirk Howard also established a "J. Patrick Boyer" imprint within the firm's repertoire.


Complete list of books by J. Patrick Boyer:

The Big Blue Machine: How Tory Campaign Backrooms Changed Canadian Politics Forever (Toronto: Dundurn, 2015)[4]

Our Scandalous Senate (Toronto: Dundurn, 2014)

Another Country, Another Life | Calumny, Love, and the Secrets of Isaac Jelfs (Toronto: Dundurn, 2013)

Raw Life | Cameos of 1890s Justice from a Magistrate’s Bench Book (Toronto: Dundurn, 2012)

Solitary Courage | Mona Winberg and the Triumph over Disability (Toronto: Blue Butterfly Books, 2010)

Local Library, Global Passport | The Evolution of a Carnegie Library (Toronto: Blue Butterfly Books, 2008)

A Passion for Justice | How ‘Vinegar Jim’ McRuer Became Canada’s Greatest Law Reformer [revised paperback edition] (Toronto: Blue Butterfly Books, 2008)

A Man & His Words (Toronto: Canadian Shield Communications & Dundurn, 2003)

Leading in an Upside-Down World [contributing editor] (Toronto: University of Guelph & Dundurn, 2003)

“Just Trust Us” | The Erosion of Accountability in Canada (Toronto: Breakout Educational Network & Dundurn, 2003)

The Leadership Challenge in the 21st Century [contributing editor] (Guelph: University of Guelph, 2002)

Accountability and Canadian Government (Guelph: University of Guelph, 2000)

Boyer’s Ontario Election Law (Toronto: Carswell Publishing, 1996)

A Passion for Justice | The Life and Legacy of J.C. McRuer [hardcover edition] (Toronto: University of Toronto Press & Osgoode Society, 1994)

Direct Democracy in Canada | The History and Future of Referendums (Toronto: Dundurn, 1992)

The People’s Mandate | Referendums and a More Democratic Canada (Toronto: Dundurn, 1992)

Hands-On Democracy | How You Can Take Part in Canada’s Renewal (Toronto: Stoddart, 1993)

La Democratie pour tous | Le citoyen…artisan du renouveau Canadien (Toronto: Stoddart, 1993)

Local Elections in Canada | The Law Governing Elections of Municipal Councils, School Boards and Other Local Authorities (Toronto: Butterworths, 1988)

Election Law in Canada | The Law and Procedure of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Elections – Vol. I (Toronto: Butterworths, 1987)

Election Law in Canada | The Law and Procedure of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Elections – Vol. II (Toronto: Butterworths, 1987)

Money and Message | The Law Governing Election Financing, Advertising, Broadcasting and Campaigning in Canada (Toronto: Butterworths, 1983)

Lawmaking by the People | Referendums and Plebiscites in Canada (Toronto: Butterworths, 1981)

The Egalitarian Option | Perspectives on Canadian Education [contributing author] (Toronto: Compass Books, 1975)


  1. ^ Boyer, J. Patrick, A Passion for Justice: The Legacy of James Chalmers Mcruer November 1994, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0-8020-0656-1
  2. ^ [Patrick Boyer – Parliament of Canada biography Boyer, J. Patrick] Parliament of Canada
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • Quotations by Patrick Boyer
  • [1]
  • [2]
  • [3]
  • [http:/ www/] Patrick Boyer's "Make the Senate Vanish" website to launch April 8, 2015.
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