March 26th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 12
John Barlow says journalistic experience helped win Macleod riding
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
John Barlow
Pass Herald Reporter
After winning the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Macleod, Okotoks newspaperman John Barlow says his journalistic experience is helping him as a politician.
“I think it’s been a huge benefit for me because I know what questions to ask. I’ve developed a really strong network with people in government, business and the agriculture industry,” he said.
Barlow won a hotly contested Conservative nomination to represent the riding of Macleod, beating out Melissa Mathieson, Phil Rowland and Scott Wagner.
He’s taken a leave of absence from the Okotoks Western Wheel where he is currently the associate publisher and editor. The Saskatchewan native says he has been working at community newspapers in Alberta for over 20 years.
“I know the issues. I know the people involved and I know the people at different levels of government and I just felt I could be a very strong advocate for Macleod,” he said.
Harold Jansen, professor of political science at the University of Lethbridge, says legendary former premier Ralph Klein also used his journalism background to become an effective politician.
“[Klein] had good connections. He understood how journalists work,” said Janson. “He knew how to play journalist.”
Before entering politics, Klein got his start as a Calgary television reporter and media personality before becoming mayor of the city in 1980.

Jansen says a lot of what citizens learn about politics is mediated through journalistic sources. He says a candidate with a background in reporting would be able to relate to the media and would know the importance of particular kinds of quotes, which helps win votes and elections.
“It may not be the advantage going forward that it was in the past because journalism is being disrupted fairly significantly by new media. So a lot of those older kinds of communications strategies may be changing,” said Jansen.
All three of Barlow’s rivals were critical of the gun seizures by the RCMP in High River during last June’s flood. They were all endorsed by the National Firearms Association and supported a possible public inquiry. Barlow did not share their opinion.
“I wasn’t going to let one issue drive my campaign. Macleod is a large and diverse riding. And because of that you have to take in everyone’s perspectives. The gun seizures in High River weren’t an issue at all until the other candidates made it an issue,” he said.
Last June, the RCMP seized weapons found in homes as officers searched the High River flood zone for stranded people. The move was criticized by the PM’s office.
“Are there questions that need to be answered? Absolutely. When the time comes and they want to go ahead with an inquiry, I’d support that 100 percent,” added Barlow.
Barlow says his first priority for High River is to get Disaster Relief Program funding allocated. But for the Crowsnest Pass the top priority is to move ahead with the upcoming Riverdale mine.
“A lot of people are talking about senate reform. The bottleneck of getting grain to port is a very hot topic. I’m looking forward to being a part of that solution as well,” he said.
He says there is still a lot of work left to do to prepare for the yet-to-be called byelection which became necessary when Ted Menzies, former Minister of State for Finance, stepped down in November.
“It’s an honour, it really is. I’m looking forward to working with the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper…I want to show the people of Macleod I will work extremely hard because that is what they deserve,” he said.
March 26th ~ Vol. 84 No. 12
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