Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Canada
In 2004, James Bezan was elected to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for the Riding of Selkirk-Interlake. He was re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2011. In Opposition, he held the positions of Associate Agriculture Critic (2005-2006) and served as an Executive Member of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association.
As a member of the Conservative government lead by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mr. Bezan has served as Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committees on Agriculture and Agri-Food (2006-2008); Environment and Sustainable Development (2008-2011); and National Defence (2011-2013). He is also the Vice-President of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group
On September 19, 2013, Mr. Bezan was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and still serves in this role.
In 2008, Mr. Bezan received one of Ukraine's highest awards for his private member's bill that recognized the Soviet-imposed famine of 1932-1933, the Holodomor, as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The “Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise” was awarded to Mr. Bezan by the President of Ukraine as recognition for making an historic contribution on behalf of Ukraine. For his work on numerous Ukrainian issues, Mr. Bezan has also received awards and recognitions from organizations in Ukraine and Canada's Ukrainian community.
For his outspoken opposition to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, Mr. Bezan was banned and sanctioned by Russia. He has called this sanction a badge of honour, and has stated that it will not silence his criticisms of the illegal military invasion and occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, nor will it mute his strong support for the people of Ukraine and his condemnation of the Putin regime’s aggression against Ukraine.