Gun-toting conservatives take aim at Macleod by-election candidate

Melissa Mathieson Rob Anders Macleod Conservative Guns

Conservative nomination candidate Melissa Mathieson and Calgary-West MP Rob Anders pose with their guns and targets: bearded men wearing turbans, and zombies. (Photo supplied by a friendly daveberta.ca reader).

Just say no-to-Barlow!” was the message broadcast to the 15,941 followers of the National Firearms Association Facebook page.

The National Rifle Association‘s Canadian cousins hope to drag down John Barlow, a candidate for the Macleod Conservative Party of Canada by-election nomination who they claim supports the RCMP seizure of firearms from abandoned houses during last year’s High River flood. The organization calls the gun seizure the “largest breech (sic) of Canadian civil rights in Canadian history.”

The controversy stems from a comment Mr. Barlow posted on his Facebook page defending the intentions of the local RCMP detachment during the flood. He later deleted the comment after the page was swarmed by critics (you can see the screenshot of Mr. Barlow’s comment here).

A reasonable person might believe that collecting abandoned weapons in an disaster zone is a sensible idea for any police force wanting to avoid potentially dangerous confrontation with emotionally distressed citizens. But the gun lobby is not convinced and has encouraged its supporters to vote for other candidates in the Conservative nomination race. “We need concerned citizens in the Macleod riding to support either Philip Rowland or Melissa Mathieson,” the NFA said in another message posted on its Facebook page.

It may not be a mere coincidence that these attacks have occurred just as Mr. Barlow’s opponent, Ms. Mathieson, received the endorsement of Shawn Bevins, the Vice President of the National Firearms Association and Todd Brown, the co-founder of the Concerned Gun Owners of Alberta group.

John Barlow George Canyon Conservative Macleod By-Election

John Barlow and George Canyon

A local newspaper editor and former provincial election candidate, Mr. Barlow’s chances of winning the hotly contested Conservative nomination received a boost last month when popular country music artist George Canyon endorsed his campaign. The two men have since been making campaign stops across the Macleod riding. Mr. Canyon is seeking the Conservative nomination in the neighbouring Bow River riding.

The other candidates for the Conservative nomination in Macleod have released mixed reactions to the attacks. Scott Wagner issued a statement criticizing Mr. Barlow and calling for a judicial inquiry into the RCMP actions and Rick Wiljamma appears to have not responded to the attacks on his opponent through social media.

This is not the first time this issue has been raised by politcians. Wildrose Party leader and local Highwood MLA Danielle Smith was raked over the coals last year for criticizing the RCMP in a fundraising letter to supporters.

February 10 is the deadline for Macleod residents to purchase Conservative Party memberships in order to vote in the nomination contest. The date of the by-election has not been set.

Fort McMurray-Athabasca By-Election update

Fort McMurray Today published a list of potential candidates who could run in the imminent by-election in the northern Alberta riding. Potentially seeking the Conservative nomination are former Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier, political staffer Laila Goodridge, and municipal councillor Phil Meagher. The Liberals have attracted a surprisingly large crowd of potential nominees, including Chris FlettKyle Harrietha, Joanne Roberts, Colleen Tatum, and Ron Quintal

20 thoughts on “Gun-toting conservatives take aim at Macleod by-election candidate

  1. Trevor

    The NFA is a lobby/legal rights organization. The NRA was founded to promote gun safety and marksmanship. The two are quite different. To paint them with the same brush is to expose ignorance of the facts.

    Reply
  2. Joe Zasada

    Are you not concerned that the RCMP may have:
    -violated the charter rights of law abiding Canadians
    -lied about it;
    -exceeded their authority, even while under the state of emergency;
    -ignored a parliamentary order in regards to destruction of the longarms registry data;
    -conveniently transferred out everyone involved?

    Whether this involved firearms or medical marijuana or kitchen knives is irrelevent.

    Reply
  3. Freedom Loving Albertan

    “The organization calls the gun seizure the ‘largest breech of Canadian civil rights in Canadian history.'”

    Wow. These gun nuts need a history lesson. Ever heard of the War Measures Act? The internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII? Aboriginal children being taken from their families and forced to live in religious Residential Schools?

    Reply
  4. Alvin Finkel

    Gun nuts is right. I don’t support the “right” of anyone to bear arms, and I’m more than a little disturbed that we have increasing numbers of Canadians like Trevor and Joe Zasada, along with the federal Conservatives and provincial Wild Rosies, who see individual weaponization as some sort of human right. The United States is a violent country with two and a half times the murder rate of Canada and far more still than European countries for a variety of reasons. But a big one is that citizens have no right, it seems, to expect that the asshole who gets mad at them for whatever reason won’t exercise his or her right to pick up his little 44 and shoot them dead.

    Reply
  5. Brad

    Hey Dave,

    Good blogpost as usual, but I do disagree with your assessment of what happened in High River.

    I do agree that reasonable people would not have a problem with open and unsecured firearms being seized during a disaster but for a lot of people in High River that is not what happened. A lot of good, law-abiding citizens had their doors kicked in, firearms that were secure or in closed areas seized, and feel they were unfairly targeted because they were gun owners.

    I don’t want to make my entire argument rest on personal antidotes but I can remember one lady who was a pensioner living on a fixed income. She had her door kicked in and a gun (which at that was nothing but a family heirloom) seized. The door cost her more than $900 to fix and the bill was left with her an extended period of time after the flood. She was understandably angry .

    I won’t bore you with more but needless to say I do believe that the anger about what happened in High River is not as simplistic as wild and unruly people angry at the government for no reason.

    Further, I do believe firearms will play a role in the Macleod nomination but there will still be much more to it than that. If I lived 400km’s to the south I would probably support Mathieson at this point but that has more to do with the policy she has put forward. Going forward, the Conservative Party will need people that can bring new ideas and articulate policy better than we have in the past. Comparing the candidates websites and interviews they have done so far it is my opinion that Mathieson is far ahead in that category. Much still remains to be seen, but so far I would say she is the best candidate and that isn’t simply because of a firearms policy.

    Reply
  6. Martin d'Entremont

    Wow. The gun nuts are everywhere. The thought of Anders with a handgun will be hard to forget. Bet he shot at the turban wearer.

    Reply
  7. Rene

    Firearms were seized in High River because they were not stored properly. They are not law abiding citizens if they do not adhere to the law.

    Kudos to the police for securing the site and hundreds of weapons that were not stored properly were removed. Gun owners should be thankful no one was injured or killed with their weapons. Charges were not placed.

    Reply
  8. Joe Zasada

    So, I guess that everyone here is okay with the police just doing whatever they want, irregardless of the law, or orders from our elected representatives? Why even bother having elections and a parliament anyways?

    If you guys want to go live in a police state, then move to one. There are plenty to choose from.

    Alvin: how do you explain Switzerland? or Finland? Those are European countries with high rates of firearms ownership…

    Rene: They were stored properly, until the RCMP broke the doors open. They even filmed themselves doing it. That’s why there is an internal inquiry going on within the RCMP, and that’s why the residents of High River are demanding a full public inquiry. If the police were searching for trapped victims, then why were only the houses that had firearms broken into, even in areas of the town that were not even damaged by flood waters? Using data that was ordered destroyed by our elected officials?

    Reply
  9. Robert Sampson

    There is absolutely no reason for these people to require their guns during this time of crisis. There is however a possibility for some not so sane people to break in during an evacuation and steal the guns from themselves. I do believe all the gun were returned that were legally owned. So…what is the issue?

    Reply
  10. Watson S

    I’m normally fairly liberal, but gun control is one area that I am in general disagreement.

    Whether you think people should have the right to own guns or not is irrelevant, when properly licensed they do have that right.

    @Rene, In High River, although there were likely a few cases of unsafe storage most houses that were entered did not meet that standard. A firearm in the open is not illegal as long as it is disabled either with trigger locks or mechanical disassembly. This is why no one was charged, because the RCMP was not willing to conclusively say that any of them had stored the firearms illegally. I can have a rifle over my fireplace, that is legal. You can argue that it shouldn’t be, but the argument doesn’t make it so.

    If we, as society think that that should be illegal, we need to change the laws. As it stands, the RCMP confiscated legally stored weapons and destroyed property in order to do so. They likely also used a registry that was legally supposed to have been destroyed given that they took firearms that were well hidden, meaning they knew what they were looking for. Again, you can disagree with the registry being dismantled, but it doesn’t matter, as it stands that is the law.

    Now, as for the nomination, I really don’t care which Conservative gets to run in the next election. I hope that whichever one it is loses that race. I’m willing to sacrifice on the firearms front to get a government in place that will focus on issues that are of more importance like proper science and environmental issues. That said, I wish liberals were actually liberal; not impeding on the rights of people unless those rights impede on others. My owning guns does not impede on any one else’s rights so frankly I should be left alone. Trying to impose your views onto me in this area is no better than a Conservative trying to impose religious views on you.

    Reply
  11. The Invisible Hand

    It’s a tad disingenuous to describe that target as “bearded men wearing turbans” when the picture is obviously of one specific person: Osama bin Laden.

    Reply
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  13. May Day

    This gun control issue is receiving way too much attention and should soon be laid to rest. I don’t know much about Melissa or Scott, but it’s general knowledge that Phil Rowland belongs to a group called Southern Alberta Land Trust Society. He has been the Secretary Treasurer and this group received $295.000.00 from Tides Canada. Tides Canada is a charitable organization that supplies money to groups who campaign AGAINST Alberta oil sands and pipelines. Do we need an MP who campaigns against Alberta in Ottawa?

    Reply
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  15. James

    I think it is funny that with your liberal outlook and love of the tight of free speach you can not see the parallel to to be being able to own a firearm for personal protection and sport. Maybe when a government takes your free speach away it will be too late to fight back because they will have all the firearms. Hmmm reminds me of Nazi Germany, etc etc. We are over educated in worthless knowledge and watch as political history repeats itself over and over again.

    Lest we forget! Thank you to our veterans!

    Reply
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