Barlow disappointed by loss

Election 2012: Barlow praised for hard work in tough campaign

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 06:00 am

Highwood PC candidate John Barlow and former Highwood MLA george Groeneveld watch election results on TV on Monday evening.
Highwood PC candidate John Barlow and former Highwood MLA george Groeneveld watch election results on TV on Monday evening.
Rae Holstbaum/OWW

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The Tories lost the battle in the foothills, but won the war on the provincial front said Highwood PC candidate John Barlow.

It was a closely fought campaign, which saw Barlow work tirelessly to meet voters face-to-face with a relentless door knocking campaign, while his chief opponent, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith spent much of her time outside of the riding on the campaign trail across the province.

Barlow said he knew it was going to be a tough fight and he wasn't prepared to give Smith an inch.

It wasn't enough for Barlow as he lost to Smith by a margin of 1,937 votes.

“It's obviously disappointing,” said Barlow. “Close doesn't cut it for me. I'm very competitive. I honestly thought we had a chance to win and no one gave us much of a chance.”

He is now urging Smith to get to know the Highwood constituency and make it her top priority.

“She doesn't know the local issues and the local riding that well, she didn't spend any time in the constituency during this campaign so I hope now that she's not premier she turns her focus to Highwood,” said Barlow.

He said he was confident going into the final vote as he hoped people wanted local leadership, but he can't control what people think when casting their ballots.

“I was hoping they would want local leadership, but that wasn't the case,” he said. “I truly believe that they thought they were voting for the premier.”

Although Barlow lost the race in the Highwood, he's excited to see how the next four years will unfold with Redford continuing as premier.

Some people he talked to expressed dismay over the Tory's record, but Barlow said Albertans seemed to have more concerns over the Wildrose Party forming the government.

“I think what it came down to was people wanted to send the PC party a message and they definitely did, but when it came to making that decision at the ballot box they questioned whether they wanted the Wildrose to lead Alberta,” he said.

Ultimately, Barlow said this is not the time for major change.

“Alberta is driving our country right now and this is not a time for instability,” he said. “We need good, solid, sound leadership with positive ideas and solutions.”

Smith's win marks the first time in 37 years the Highwood MLA will not be a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Outgoing MLA George Groeneveld is disappointed to lose the seat to the Wildrose.

However, he said Barlow had a formidable task to take on Smith and he kept it a tight race. Groeneveld praised Barlow's determination and work ethic.

“I've never seen a fellow work that hard in my life,” he said. “He was out there everyday pounding that pavement, like the postman through the sleet and snow and it all. He absolutely has nothing to be ashamed of.”

Groeneveld's happy about the PC victory on the provincial side despite polls suggesting, even on Monday morning, a Wildrose win.

That said, he was surprised at the Wildrose sweep through rural southern Alberta.

“I guess I'm in shock with what happened in southern Alberta,” he said.

Highwood PC association president Jamie Thiessen said they knew it was going to be a tough campaign from the start, however, he too praised Barlow for the job he did.

“John rocked the world here, he never stopped, he impressed me at every corner,” he said.


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