Blackie Farmer wants to support flood recovery

Politics: Phil Rowland

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 06:00 am

Blackie Farmer Phil Rowland looks over the Town of Okotoks on Tuesday morning. Rowland is seeking the nomination to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in this spring’s Macleod byelection.
Blackie Farmer Phil Rowland looks over the Town of Okotoks on Tuesday morning. Rowland is seeking the nomination to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in this spring’s Macleod byelection.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Supporting flood recovery efforts is priority one says a Blackie-area farmer running to become Macleod’s riding’s representative in Ottawa, but there are other important issues like agriculture and keeping taxes low, he says he will tackle.

Phil Rowland is one of a group of five who are in the running to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in a spring byelection in the Macleod riding to replace former MP Ted Menzies in the House of Commons.

Rowland said rebuilding after last year’s flood and protecting against similar disasters in the future is the most important issue for the Macleod riding.

He said he would be a voice at the federal level for communities recovering from last year’s flood.

“I have some skin in the game, my ranch has some of the Highwood River in it and my parents live in High River,” said Rowland. “I really get what’s going on here and I think I can be a pretty good advocate and oversight for the federal government on that.”

He said the federal government needs to play a role in the recovery, not only because it will cover a vast majority of the cost, but also because of its role in getting new flood protection built in communities like High River.

A fourth generation farmer in the region, Rowland worked in the oil and gas industry in the 1980s. He now runs a farm near Blackie and a ranch near Longview. He also used to own the Okotoks Flight Centre and ran the flying school.

Rowland said he knows what the issues are that matter in Macleod and he would be a strong advocate for people in the riding.

“I have a passion for this area, I’ve lived here all my life,” he said. “I’ve worked in the watershed, farmed and ranched, ran a business in Okotoks and I have a big passion for this community.”

Rowland said there are a number of agricultural issues he’d like to work on that are important for farmers and ranchers in the Macleod riding, like opening new markets for Canadian exports, particularly agricultural products.

“As a commodity producer I’m pretty dependent on strong market access,” he said. “We have the EU and Pacific Rim deals right now and I want to keep my finger on making sure that continues to happen.”

Rowland said he would also work to raise awareness of regulatory hurdles many producers face and advocate to ease red tape for producers.

“A lot of what our problem is are regulatory issues with the CFIA,” he said. “I don’t know if one MP can go down there and fix all that. I doubt it, but one MP can go down there and investigate all that and help shine a light on what’s going on.”

Rowland said he also believes in fiscal responsibility and he wants to work to keep taxes down.

“Personally I run my business in a responsible manner and I want to make sure the federal government continues down that path,” he said.

With work continuing on plans to get more Alberta crude to international markets, he said pipelines are the best way to do so. As someone who used to build and work on pipeline projects, he said new technology has significantly increased safety of pipelines.

“I worked on corrosion surveys in the pipeline industry and doing what I would call pipeline due diligence and stewardship,” he said. “Pipelines, although they have their problems, are certainly the safest way to transport hydrocarbons. I personally think it’s safer than a train or a truck.”


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