Drive to serve undiminished for Barlow

Politics: Flood recovery, economic development a priority

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 05, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks resident John Barlow walks across the Laurie Boyd Bridge in Okotoks last week. Barlow is seeking the nomination to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in this spring’s Macleod byelection.
Okotoks resident John Barlow walks across the Laurie Boyd Bridge in Okotoks last week. Barlow is seeking the nomination to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in this spring’s Macleod byelection.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Two years after losing a close race in the 2012 provincial election, the drive to serve hasn’t dimmed for an Okotoks resident looking to represent the Macleod riding in Ottawa.

John Barlow said his motivation to serve as Macleod MP is no different than when he ran to be Highwood MLA two years ago.

“You want to be someone they can trust and turn to, the person who’s going to ask ‘what do you need, are you okay, what can I do to help?’” he said. “So it’s the same thing I wanted to before, it’s just at a different platform.”

Barlow is one of five people seeking the nomination to become the Conservative Party’s candidate in a spring by-election in the Macleod riding.

Barlow was the Progressive Conservative Party’s candidate in the Highwood constituency in the 2012 provincial election, against Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith. He said the previous campaign was a good experience, but when the provincial election was over he had no intention of making another political run. When when former Macleod MP Ted Menzies announced he was leaving politics last year, Barlow considered taking up the Macleod seat.

Barlow is the former editor and associate publisher of the Okotoks Western Wheel. With 25 years experience as a journalist, he said his greatest asset is his ability to communicate.

It’s something he hopes to put to use as an advocate for communities recovering from last year’s flood.

“If there are issues where the federal government is involved, whether it’s disaster relief funding, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, upstream water storage or any other options that come to the table, that’s a federal issue and I want to be intimately involved,” he said.

He also wants to work to ensure any flood mitigation projects that are ultimately built are done quickly.

“Obviously people are concerned with what’s going to happen this spring and we’re going to have to go through this spring together and hopefully we get through it unscathed,” he said. “We can’t wait two or three years for some of these things to get done.”

Barlow said supporting economic development to build strong economies communities across the Macleod riding will be a priority if he becomes the Macleod MP.

“Although we have a large population in Okotoks, we have a very rural population in Macleod and I want to make sure these communities don’t just survive, they thrive,” he said.

He said the energy and agricultural sectors are the lifeblood of rural communities and it’s important the federal government continue to open new markets to support them, and not just in the U.S. but internationally.

Ultimately, he said he believes in grass roots government and he wants to know what people in the Macleod riding feel are their priorities.

“My constituents are the ones who are going to talk to me and tell me what their concerns are, their ideas and I’m going to share that with Parliament,” he said.

Barlow turned heads last week when he revealed he was coordinating his campaign with Canadian country music star George Canyon’s campaign to seek the nomination to become the candidate in the new Bow River Riding for the 2015 federal election.

He said Canyon’s endorsement is appreciated, but added he won’t take anything for granted and he has to run his campaign like he’s in a tight heat.

“If I learned anything in that provincial election, you always work like you’re 10 votes behind,” he said.


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