Four step forward for Tory nomination

Foothills: Phil Rowland, Scott Wagner, Melissa Mathieson and John Barlow in ring

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 06:00 am

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In the wake of the retirement of Macleod’s MP four people have stepped forward to announce they will be seeking the Conservative nomination to run as the party’s candidate in a by-election in 2014.

Macleod MP Ted Menzies announced his surprise retirement from politics on Nov. 13 effective immediately.

As a result, the Macleod seat in Parliament is now vacant and a by-election must be held within six months.

Menzies was a Conservative MP, meaning the Macleod Conservative Electoral District Association must hold a nomination to elect a new candidate for the upcoming by-election. No date has been set for party members to select a nominee.

Thus far four potential candidates have announced their intention to seek the nomination, including Blackie farmer Phil Rowland, Springbank businessman Scott Wagner, Melissa Mathieson of High River and Okotoks Western Wheel Associate Publisher John Barlow.

Mathieson, 24, worked in Ottawa with Menzies and in the Prime Minister’s Office and she said she is looking forward to the nomination experience.

“I am really excited, I am on the ground and I feel I know the issues of our area,” said Mathieson, who grew up in High River. “I know how things work in Ottawa.”

Mathieson said she started working as a volunteer with the federal riding association 10 years ago and attended the university of Calgary where she studied political science.

“I have seen what it takes,” said Mathieson. “We need youth to renew the party.”

Rowland, also a long-time foothills resident, said he is hoping to follow the strong example Menzies set.

“Ted did an excellent job for Macleod, he always answered his phone or got back to you,” he said. “You may not have always liked the answer, but he always explained his reasoning.”

Rowland said he was surprised by Menzies’ retirement, but his team is prepared for the nomination process.

“I am ready to go,” said Rowland. “I am well-suited to represent our riding and I have been active in the riding.”

Rowland worked in oil patch and was president of the Western Stock Growers Association.

Wagner, a married father of two, said he was also surprised with Menzies’ announcement, but has spent a lot of time canvassing the riding preparing for the Tory nomination.

“I have wanted to do this for a very long time and I believe I am a very strong fiscal conservative,” said Wagner.

He said he will focus on eliminating the federal debt and address youth unemployment.

Barlow said he has the background and experience to be a good representative for Macleod. He ran in the 2012 provincial election as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the Highwood constituency.

“I learned a lot during the provincial campaign, I developed an invaluable network of contacts and I saw what developed with this municipal election campaign and we have some extremely strong dynamic councils in this area,” he said.

He said he will work well with the local municipal councils and MLAs to develop a strong voice for southern Alberta.

He said he has received a lot of support since announcing his intention to seek the nomination.

“I spoke to some key people and the support has been overwhelming,” he said. “We have as fantastic team with representation across the riding.”

He said flood mitigation is his number one concern for the riding. While the federal government has allocated money to the flood recovery, he said he wants to ensure it follows through in a timely manner.

“I want to make sure southern Alberta is not forgotten,” he said. “We still have some critical issues in the recovery to deal with.”


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