Barlow wins nod in Macleod

OKOTOKS — John Barlow was literally the odd man out in the battle for the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Macleod that was fuelled by a debate over gun rights and the RCMP‘s seizure of firearms from evacuated homes in High River during Alberta’s floods last June.

OKOTOKS — John Barlow was literally the odd man out in the battle for the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Macleod that was fuelled by a debate over gun rights and the RCMP‘s seizure of firearms from evacuated homes in High River during Alberta’s floods last June.

But Saturday night he defeated three other candidates to earn the right to carry the Conservative banner in the sprawling, rural riding that stretches from south of Calgary down to the foothills of southwestern Alberta, including the town of High River.

The RCMP took the guns and stored them as officers searched homes in High River’s flood zone for stranded people, pets and anything that might pose a threat to safety.

The move was criticized by the Prime Minister’s Office and in July the head of the RCMP asked the Public Complaints Commission to look into the matter, saying he and a lot of other Canadians had questions about the force’s actions. A report is expected soon.

The National Firearms Association endorsed nomination candidates Melissa Mathieson, Phil Rowland and Scott Wagner for their position on the seizures. All three were critical of the gun seizures, and supported the possibility of a public inquiry.

The one candidate the gun group didn’t back was Barlow, a 42-year-old newspaper editor from Okotoks, who as a provincial Tory came within 2,000 votes of beating Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith in Alberta’s last election.

Barlow indicated he wanted to put all efforts into rebuilding High River and was content to wait for the independent report from the RCMP on the gun seizures and, if warranted, would support an inquiry at a later date.

“It probably had an impact for sure but our message, right from the beginning, is we weren’t going to let one group drive our campaign. We were going to stay with a broad vision and we wanted to make sure all the issues were addressed – not just one,” Barlow told reporters Saturday.

The yet-to-be called byelection became necessary when Ted Menzies, former minister of state for finance, stepped down in November.

Mathieson, 24, was the first person to raise the gun seizure issue during the campaign. She doesn’t think her position backfired with voters.

“I’m going to say no. It got a lot of people out to the polls and I still feel very strongly about it,” Mathieson said.

“I don’t expect that issue will go away anytime soon.”

There was speculation the vote would become a contest between provincial supporters of the Wildrose party and the Alberta Progressive Conservatives. Barlow said he made a concerted effort to downplay that, especially since he ran against the Wildrose leader.

“I tried pretty hard to make sure this was all inclusive and this wasn’t a provincial thing,” said Barlow.

“We’re on the same team at the federal level. It didn’t come up a lot but I’m sure it was rippling under the surface a little bit.”

David Taras, a political scientist at Calgary-based Mount Royal University, said Macleod is one of the safest ridings in the country and the only thing that could prevent the Conservatives from winning it would be the “bubonic plague.”

Follow (at)BillGraveland on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer teacher engages students with “cool” science experiments

On Thursday, he made fire dance to the beat of the music

Province purchases land for new Red Deer courthouse

Construction to begin in the fall of 2019

Parking costs in Red Deer are going up — so are parking tickets

City council raises parking rates by 25 per cent starting July 1

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates in Red Deer

Three people vying to be the leader of the Alberta Party were… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month