Ryan Leef (born December 28, 1973) is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 election by 132 votes. He represented the riding of Yukon in the House of Commons of Canada as a member of the Conservative Party from 2011-2015. Born in Ontario in 1973, he grew up in Dawson City, Yukon. He has overseen prisoners as an assistant superintendent at Whitehorse Correctional Centre which was his most recent employment prior to politics. Ryan Leef is also a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a Wildlife Officer and an investigator for Yukon Department of Justice. Ryan Leef has also fought in the cage as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. He is a strong supporter and advocate of the sport.
In October 2012, Leef ran in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association. Ryan Leef was noted in national media when he claimed that the polar bear population had increased dramatically. His position was refuted by polar bear researchers and according to one scientist was based on a report prepared by "professional climate change deniers."
Ryan Leef has enjoyed a variety of occupations prior to being elected as the Member of 41st Parliament for the Yukon including; Wildlife Guide, Conservation Officer, RCMP Officer and Deputy Superintendent of Operations at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. His family moved to the Yukon in 1984 and he has subsequently lived in many communities throughout the territory. Ryan lives in Whitehorse and has one son, Aaron.
Leef was first elected in May 2011. He was appointed to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Ocean and the Standing Committee on Natural resources. He joined the Canada-Germany,Canada-United States, and Canada-Philippines interparliamentary groups and chairs the Canada-Australia-New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship Group. Leef also chaired the Northern Caucus and the MMA Caucus, co-chairs the Hunting and Angling Caucus and sits on BC/Yukon, Outdoor and National Caucuses.
Leef was defeated in 2015 by Larry Bagnell, after serving just one term as a member of parliament, with Leef garnering 24% of ballots and Bagnell garnering 53.6% of the vote, despite Leef spending more than twice as much as Bagnell on the campaign, including approximately $17,000 on services from a company that contacts voters directly via telephone and online.
Throughout his political career Leef endeavoured on many philanthropic projects under the banner of Inspiration Unlimited, including his "Border to Border Trek" across Yukon. The trek will see Leef running across the three Yukon borders over the course of three summers. Leef has already successfully completed his 1,200-kilometre journey from the northernmost point of the territory to British Columbia. While the run specifically raises funds for the Canadian Diabetes Association Leef used the opportunity to promote healthy mental and physical lifestyles.
Using his background as a Department of Justice defense tactics instructor Leef has led "Leaders in Life Mixed Martial Arts Against Bullying" clinics. He also hosts an annual chilli cook off to benefit the Whitehorse Food Bank as well as a women's self-defence workshop to benefit the Yukon White Ribbon Campaign.
Ryan Leef has had a few brushes with the law, and one conviction. In 2007, he was found to have declared that a thinhorn sheep, which was shot by a Colorado trophy hunter he was guiding at the time, was shot in an area where it had not, in fact, been shot. The judge did not convict Leef, as he stated it was likely a careless mistake, however, the Yukon Supreme Court found Leef guilty of making a false statement on the export form. In the same incident, Leef was charged by Conservation Officers with transporting the same sheep on an ATV in an area where ATVs were not allowed, but the judge found that it was not possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Leef had in fact used an ATV at the time. These charges occurred during the time that Leef was also employed as a Conservation Officer for the Yukon Territory.
In addition, during Leef's 2015 campaign to be re-elected, he performed a citizen's arrest on a civilian who he caught defacing some campaign signs of his, at night, during a rainstorm. Following this, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reminded citizens that citizen's arrests were to be used only in very specific circumstances and issued a release stating "We encourage our communities to leave intervention to the police, who are trained, equipped and have broader legal authorities than the average citizen," prompting the Huffington Post to remark that Leef had been "very politely scolded".