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Neil Erland Byers was born on December 7, 1928 in Fertile, Saskatchewan to Newton and Kathleen (McDonald) Byers. He received his early education in Fertile and Frobisher and attended Moose Jaw Normal School. Byers earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
Prior to his entry into provincial politics, Byers worked as a teacher with the Department of Indian Affairs (1952-1954) and in Foam Lake. He served as vice-councilor for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation and president of the Shamrock Teachers' Superintendency Association. Byers also worked for seven years as a hail adjuster for the Co-operative Hail Insurance Company of Saskatchewan.
Byers ran unsuccessfully in the 1964 and 1967 provincial general elections in the Kelvington constituency. He was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in a June 25, 1969 by-election and served as a New Democratic Party (NDP) MLA for Kelvington (1969-1975) and Kelvington-Wadena (1975-1982).
Byers held various Cabinet portfolios in the Allan Blakeney Government: Minister of Highways and Transportation (1971-1972); Minister of Telephones (1971-1972, 1975-1978); Minister of the Environment (1972-1978); Minister of Co-operation and Co-operative Development (1972-1974); and Minister of Northern Saskatchewan (1978-1979). He was Minister Responsible for various agencies, boards and commissions including Saskatchewan Telecommunications (1975-1978); Liquor Board (1975-1978); and Liquor Licensing Commission (1975-1978).
Byers resigned from Cabinet on June 19, 1979 and lost his seat in the 1982 provincial general election to Sherwin Petersen (Progressive Conservative).
Byers currently (2010) resides in Regina.
Byers married Margaret Engelke on November 8, 1952. They have six children: Douglas, Valerie, Eleanor, Sandra, Roland and Candyce.