James Bezan has been successfully elected five times as a Conservative Member of Parliament since 2004, with his most recent electoral victory in the newly created riding of Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman. Over the course of his parliamentary career, he has chaired the House of Commons Standing Committees for Agriculture and Agri-Food (2006-2008), Environment (2008-2011), and National Defence (2011-2013).
As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence from 2013-2015, Bezan was active on files dealing with military procurement, mental health issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, the war against ISIS, and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Bezan currently serves in the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet as the Conservative Shadow Minister for National Defence and the Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.
During his 14 years in Parliament, Bezan has fought strongly for marketing freedom for Western Canadian farmers and ending the long-gun registry. He was instrumental in leveraging over $35 million for protecting Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. Bezan has also raised awareness of skin cancer and the carcinogenic dangers of using tanning equipment. Most recently, Bezan sponsored Bill S-226, Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), which enables Canada to independently impose sanctions, travel bans, and asset freezes on corrupt foreign officials and human rights abusers. The Bill was unanimously supported by the House of Commons and is currently before the Senate for final consideration of the amendments before receiving royal assent.
Bezan has also been a very outspoken critic on the issue of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and protecting Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and human rights. As a result, he was one of thirteen Canadian officials sanctioned and banned by the Russian government in 2014. For his work on Ukrainian issues he has been recognized with numerous awards both in Canada and abroad, including the ‘Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise’ (Ukraine’s highest civilian award) for his private members’ bill to recognize the Holomodor as genocide.
Before public life, Bezan worked in the livestock industry and lives with his family on their farm in Manitoba. With his wife Kelly, they have three daughters, Cortney, Taylor, and Cassidy. Bezan is a member of the Teulon and District Lions Club and is active in their church.