Jake Hoeppner bigraphy, stories - Canadian politician

Jake Hoeppner : biography

1 February 1936 -

Jake E. Hoeppner (born February 1, 1936) is a former Canadian politician. He served in the Canadian House of Commons from 1993 to 2000, initially with the Reform Party and later as an independent Member of Parliament (MP).

Hoeppner was born on a Russian Mennonite family in Morden, Manitoba, did not finish high school, and worked a farmer for thirty-five years. Between 1968 and 1984, he served on the Snowflake School Board, and Pembina Valley School Board and the MCI Collegiate Board (Gretna). He was also a member of the Provisional Board of Keystone Agricultural Producers, District 2 and Southern Co-op Feeders Ltd. He first became a public figure in 1971, when he opposed the provincial government's crop-insurance scheme and received twice what he was initially promised in a hailstone-damage claim.Globe and Mail, 31 July 1999

He was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1993 federal election, defeating Liberal candidate Grant Johnson by 4,655 votes in Lisgar—Marquette. Hoeppner was the only Reform MP to be elected from a Manitoba riding in this election, and was one of only two party MPs elected east of Saskatchewan.

Hoeppner launched a lawsuit against the Canadian Wheat Board in 1995, alleging that the board had charged insufficient buy-back prices to grain companies and had not properly distributed the money it received. The case was thrown out of court in 1998, and Hoeppner was order to pay the Wheat Board's legal fees. Hoeppner has alleged that the Wheat Board withholds information from producers, though others have disputed his claims.

In 1996, he spoke out against a federal measure that extended anti-discrimination provisions to homosexuals by claiming that homosexuality was the cause of civil war in Liberia and Zambia. These comments were widely ridiculed, and Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy referred to Hoeppner's observations as "probably the most ultimate example of stupidity I've seen (from) a Reform MP".Winnipeg Free Press, 10 May 1996

He was re-elected in the 1997 election, defeating Progressive Conservative candidate Brian Pallister by 1,449 votes in the redistributed riding of Portage—Lisgar. Pallister had been a star candidate for the Progressive Conservatives, and was seen by some as the favourite to win the riding.

After the election, Hoeppner promoted the idea of running provincial Reform Party candidates in Manitoba (there had previously been an organization called the Reform Party of Manitoba, but it was not affiliated with the federal party). One independent Reformer campaigned in a 1997 provincial by-election, but the idea went no further.Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1997. He considered leaving the party in 1998, but chose to stay after receiving promises that it would devote more attention to agriculture.Globe and Mail, 17 October 1998

Hoeppner was excluded from the Reform Party caucus on July 27, 1999, after criticizing party leader Preston Manning and strategist Rick Anderson for their plans to fold Reform into the United Alternative. Hoeppner later announced his plans to challenge Manning for the United Alternative leadership, though this came to nothing.Toronto Star, 17 August 1999. He was permanently expelled from caucus later in the year, and changed his parliamentary designation to "Independent Reform" on September 28. On April 4, 2000, he changed his designation to "Independent". Hoepnner was accused of assaulting Reform MP Inky Mark at a meeting in September 1999, but was cleared of the charge in May 2000.Winnipeg Free Press, 18 May 2000.

He sought re-election in the 2000 federal campaign and this time finished a distant fourth against Pallister, who was now a candidate of the Canadian Alliance. Hoeppner openly used $10,500 taken from the Portage—Lisgar Canadian Alliance Association in this election, claiming that the money belonged to him.Winnipeg Free Press, 7 October 2000. The Alliance later sued to recover the money.Winnipeg Free Press, 20 June 2003.

Hoeppner once blamed women for inciting male violence, claiming "as kids we were always taught at home when we went to get the cattle out of the pasture not to wear red because it would infuriate the bull".Winnipeg Free Press, 5 December 2003.

After leaving office, Hoeppner was involved with "Farmers for Justice", a conservative agrarian group seeking to reduce the powers of the Canadian Wheat Board

Hoeppner was later skeptical about efforts to merge the Canadian Alliance with the Progressive Conservatives to form the Conservative Party of CanadaWinnipeg Free Press, 28 October 2003. He also brought a series of lawsuits against former leaders of the Reform Party, including one in 2004 for "embarrassment, damage to his reputation and humiliation" resulting from his expulsion from the party five years earlier.Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 2004.

Hoeppner's brother Walter has campaigned for the Manitoba Liberal Party at the provincial level.Winnipeg Free Press, 15 March 1995.

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