Because patterns in society emerge through the interaction of institutions and individuals over time, instead of “quick-fix reforms” Patrick believes that improving conditions requires shifts in culture, which entails a lifetime of engagement on many fronts.
Equality for All
In a universe of double-standards and unequal sharing of wealth and resources, his approach to “A Just Society” is not theoretical but pragmatic, to “Create justice by removing injustice.” Operating as a “participant observer,” Boyer’s impulse for justice has included supporting legal recourse for victims of wrongdoing; attentive integration for vulnerable people on society’s margins; safeguarding the public commons from commercial and environmental predation; ethical conduct by public office holders and individuals occupying positions of trust; and social harmony based on “equality of all and special privileges for none.”
Such a trajectory led Patrick into journalism, law, politics, advocacy, and work with diverse organizations. He founded The Northern Institute for Public Policy, Breakout Educational Network, and the Corinne Boyer Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research and Treatment (today’s Ovarian Cancer Canada). He chaired the Couchiching Institute for Public Affairs, and the Pugwash Park Commission in Nova Scotia. His memberships in civil rights, environmental, and writers’ organizations (including PEN and The Writers’ Union of Canada) enable support for and engagement with their causes. He is on the National Advisory Council of Fair Vote Canada, seeking an electoral system that proportionately reflects voter support in parliamentary representation. He has worked, without result, for abolition of the Senate of Canada – an unelected and unaccountable law-making body.
In specific ways he devoted himself the health and well-being of women; vital democracy achieved through citizen-centred governance; interpreting and sharing Canadian history and heritage; fostering awakening respect for Indigenous peoples; law reform and social justice; and accountability in government.
During his lifetime Patrick has also worked as a typesetter and printer, reporter and television host, newspaper columnist and broadcast commentator, lawyer and parliamentarian. Since youth he is also a keen carpenter, canoeist, and naturalist.
As a lawyer and partner in a major Toronto firm, J. Patrick Boyer, Q.C. specialized in electoral law, communications law, and public law issues. As member of the Northwest Territories bar, he simultaneously engaged in a wide variety of legal affairs in the Canadian Arctic. He was designated a “Queen’s Council” for contributions to Canadian legal scholarship with his comprehensive six-volume treatise on election law. He received an honorary doctorate from University of Ottawa for “continuous contributions to democracy in Canada and abroad.”
Writing became Patrick’s vocation in early years, starting with newspaper articles and columns in his family’s small-town weekly newspaper. Today he reviews books and writes feature articles for a number of magazines. He has formed two publishing houses, Blue Butterfly Books and Muskoka Books. Over two dozen of his own works have been published by Canadian and international publishing houses.
In 1984 Patrick Boyer was elected to the House of Commons at age 39 by citizens of Toronto’s Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding. “It was handy being a ‘Progressive-Conservative,’ he said, “because I could ride off in opposite directions at the same time and still be consistent.” Journalists more than once mistook him for a New Democrat; political scientists saw him as a Red Tory. He campaigned for a reorientation of the PC party as “democratic conservative” in contradistinction to being “democratic socialist.”
Boyer chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Equality Rights, the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Disabled Persons, and a committee on election law reform. He also served as the Mulroney Government’s parliamentary secretary for External Affairs, and later for National Defence. In these roles he participated in international affairs through landmark events – the end of apartheid in South Africa, end of the Cold War, and the war to liberate occupied Kuwait.
Holding degrees from Carleton University (in economics and political science) and University of Toronto (in law and history), Patrick also studied French-Canadian literature at Université de Montréal, and public law at the Academy of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Dr. Boyer taught political ethics as a faculty member at University of Guelph, history at York University, Canadian constitutional law at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the law of Canadian democracy at University of Toronto.
On August 15, 1970, Patrick married Corinne Mudde of The Netherlands after meeting her on a blind date in New York City. Corinne, as a Dutch national speaking seven languages, was a member of the Foreign Service of The Netherlands, posted to Manhattan as Cultural Exchanges Officer with the Dutch consulate. She became a proud and active Canadian citizen. Corinne died from ovarian cancer in the twenty-fifth year of their married life together.
Patrick did not remarry for 23 years, and had no intention of ever marrying again. However, he met Elise Marie Bélanger. A Franco-Ontarian, Elise was Ontario Hydro’s first woman forester. Today, as a engaged entrepreneur, she owns and operates VERANDA retail store in downtown Bracebridge in Muskoka. On March 15, 2013, Patrick and Elise eloped in British Columbia.
Additional biographical info is available on public website entries at:
The Writers’ Union of Canada:https://www.writersunion.ca/member/jpatrick-boyer