Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, was first elected in a November 2010 by-election and then again in the 41st (2011) and 42nd (2015) Canadian federal elections .
From 2011 to 2015, Robert was a respected member of the Standing Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development and the Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. In addition, Robert was appointed by Prime Minister Harper as the Chair of the Manitoba Regional Caucus.
From 2011 to 2013 Robert served as the Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group; a non-partisan group open to all Parliamentarians seeking to promote positive relations between Canada and Ukraine.
In 2012, Robert was a founding member and Chair of the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus. The caucus, which grew to over 30 Conservative Members of Parliament at its peak in 2014-2015, serves as a venue for Members of Parliament to discuss the common concerns of their constituents and move forward with solutions from the government that respect hunters and anglers. It also serves in an outreach role to meet with hunters, anglers, and trappers across the country to ensure their wealth of knowledge on environmental conservation is heard by the federal government. Conservative MP Blaine Calkins now serves as the current Chair of the caucus.
Following Sopuck’s re-election in 2015, Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose appointed Sopuck as the Official Opposition’s Critic for Wildlife Conservation and Parks Canada. This role, uses his experience as a biologist and avid outdoorsman to ensure the federal government continues to enact legislation that achieves tangible environmental benefits that do not harm Canada’s rural communities. Sopuck continues to serve as a member of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, and is the Vice Chair of this committee.
Robert Sopuck received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) from the University of Manitoba in 1973 and Master of Science (M.Sc.) from Cornell University (1975) in Ithaca, New York. His first career was in fisheries management where he was the District Biologist (Western Canada and Eastern Arctic) for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and then as Fisheries Biologist for the Province of Manitoba (1976-1979).
From 1988 to 1996 he coordinated the sustainable development initiative for the Province of Manitoba. Duties included the development of a sustainable development strategy for Manitoba, development of Manitoba’s water strategy, and providing staff support to the Sustainable Development Committee of Cabinet under Progressive Conservative Premier Gary Filmon. In 1996 he took a position with the Pine Falls Paper Company as Director of Environmental Programs. In this position he was responsible for all aspects of the company’s environmental performance ranging from the management of a wastewater treatment plant to permitting and compliance with the terms and conditions of the environmental license. He was also on the Board of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation at this time.
In 1998 he moved back to his farm in Western Manitoba, where he currently resides, to farm grains, oilseeds and forages. He was the Vice-President of Policy (Western Canada) for the Delta Waterfowl Foundation from 2000 -2009 and the Director of the “Smart Green” environmental policy project and the “Rural Renaissance Project” for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He has had extensive experience in agricultural and rural policy analysis and development. He chaired the board of the Manitoba fisheries development group known as the Fish and Lake Improvement Program for the Parkland Region and was the hunting and outdoors columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press. During the winter of 2009/2010, he was a natural resources specialist with AMEC Earth and Environmental Limited and supervised an oil exploration and drilling program in Alberta.
In October 2007 he was appointed by Canada’s Minister of the Environment to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the primary advisory body to the federal government on environmental and natural resources policy. Robert’s professional experience and expertise led to becoming known as “the right-wing environmentalist.”
In February 2008, Sopuck was awarded the Outdoor Heritage Award from the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. The award thanked him “For protecting and enhancing our hunting heritage and passing on these traditions in good health to future generations.” In June 2014, Robert was honoured to receive the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Past Presidents’ Award, which honours elected legislators for their contributions to the conservation of wildlife in Canada.
In all of these activities he has earned a reputation as a respected advocate for Manitoba’s rural communities. He has formidable knowledge about the workings of government and industry, having held senior positions in both. Robert and his wife, Caroline, live on their 480 acres of land in the Sandy Lake area, 320 of which are permanently protected via a conservation agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Robert is and avid fisherman and hunter and has written a few of his stories into a book titled A Life Outdoors: Essays on Hunting, Gathering and Country Living in the 21st Century. Robert and Caroline have two children and three grandchildren.