Foothills musician announces political campaign
Politics: George Canyon to team up with John Barlow
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Friday, Jan 24, 2014 01:03 pm
A country music singer and journalist from the foothills are teaming up to represent southern Alberta in Ottawa.
George Canyon announced his intention to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in the 2015 federal election for the new Bow River riding on Friday morning.
Canyon, a Canadian Country Music Association and Juno award-winning musician, is also teaming up with John Barlow, who is in the race to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in the Macleod riding in this spring’s byelection.
Canyon said he wants to support the community and represent southern Alberta in Ottawa, particularly after last year’s floods.
“I’ve always been called to serve, but I just felt at that time a real calling to get out and represent my neighbours, my friends and my family,” he said.
If both are successful in becoming candidates for the Conservative Party and Members of Parliament, they plan to campaign and work together.
They are launching their campaigns on Sunday in High River at the Highwood Memorial Centre from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. A second event will be held in Okotoks on Jan. 31 at the Foothills Centennial Centre at 7 p.m. Canyon will also perform at the events.
Barlow, former editor and assistant publisher of the Okotoks Western Wheel, is one of five people seeking the nomination to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in a spring byelection to replace former Macleod MP Ted Menzies.
If Barlow is successful at becoming the Macleod MP, he will then seek re-election in the new Foothills riding that will be created when the electoral boundaries change before the next federal election in October 2015. At that time, the Macleod riding will be split and the eastern portion, which includes Vulcan County, will be part of the new Bow River Riding., where Canyon plans on running.
When Barlow first heard Canyon was interested in getting involved in politics, he said he reached out to see if they could work together. Barlow said Canyon cares deeply about the community and intimately knows the issues that matter for southern Albertans.
“The more we talked the more we realized we share a lot of the same ideas, we share the same passion and same vision,” he said. “We really have the potential here to do something special.”
The two decided to co-ordinate their campaigns in the two ridings.
Barlow said their partnership shows the importance of getting people to work together in government for the best interests of Canadians.
“In politics, unfortunately, there’s a lot of dissention, whereas for us this really shows what politics should be about and what this process should be about, is building partnerships and building relationships with people,” he said.
Supporting flood recovery efforts are top priorities for both Canyon and Barlow.
Barlow said it’s going to be a long process to rebuild and recover from last year’s flood and he wants to keep the national eye fixed on work being done in the foothills.
“I want to make sure no one forgets,” he said. “We’ve seen a great recovery and some great progress in terms of what’s been done to rebound from the flood but there’s years of work left to go.”
Barlow said he wants to ensure the federal government is an active participant in the recovery process and funding is available. He also noted federal departments, particularly the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, will be involved in any plans for new flood protection projects and he wants to work to ensure the process moves smoothly.
“I want to make sure I’m intimately involved in how these plans are going to move forward in protecting our communities,” he said.
Canyon declined to comment further on other issues he plans on raising if elected to office, preferring instead to hear from residents in the Bow River riding first.
“I want to focus right now on hearing the voice of the people of the Bow River riding,” he said.
While Canyon – who lives west of High River – will not live in the Bow River riding when it is formed, he doesn’t see it as a problem. He said boundaries aren’t as important as providing a strong voice for southern Alberta in Ottawa.
“When it comes to the Bow River riding, I can say this quite honestly, Canada is home, Alberta is home, southern Alberta is home,” he said.
As Canyon makes his first forays into the political realm, he is not giving up on his music career.
He said he’s not giving up his music career as he enters politics. He said he’s currently working on a new single and a new record and don’t be surprised if you see him pull out his guitar on Parliament Hill.
“You don’t get George the politician, or George the actor, or George the musician, you get George,” he said. “I’ve threatened to take the guitar to the House… It’s a normal thing for me to pick up the guitar and sing a couple tunes, let’s sing a couple tunes.”