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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glen Carritt organized a United We Roll Canada convoy around May 2019 that travelled in 2019. An independent review said he breached council code of conduct rules multiple times. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Former Innisfail town councillor breached code of conduct many times, says review

Consultants say 29 of 36 alleged breaches by Glen Carritt had merit

Members of the Red Deer RCMP downtown patrol monitor for drug activity and property crimes. (Advocate file photo).
Two peace officers are training to join Red Deer’s downtown police patrol unit

This “integrated” unit will be the first in Alberta

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as Flames' Christopher Tanev (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) defend during first-period NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

A crane is used to lift a vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality

Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien looks towards the ice as his team takes on the Ottawa Senators during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadiens have fired head coach Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Canada midfielder Sophie Schmidt (13) attempts a shot on goal during the first half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match against Argentina, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Phelan M. Ebenhack
Canadian women exit SheBelieves Cup on losing note, blanked 2-0 by Brazil

Canadian women exit SheBelieves Cup on losing note, blanked 2-0 by Brazil

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta's COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Jason Nixon, government house leader and environment minister, after Nixon is sworn into office in Edmonton on April 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta eyes recall legislation, focuses on COVID-19 aid in spring sitting

Alberta eyes recall legislation, focuses on COVID-19 aid in spring sitting

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The CFL faces more challenges in its 2021 return than it did last year when it was forced to cancel its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CFL will have to appease more levels of government to get 2021 protocols approved

CFL will have to appease more levels of government to get 2021 protocols approved

Most Read