HIGH RIVER, Alta. - Canadian country crooner George Canyon wants to sing from the Conservative party song sheet as a member of Parliament.
Canyon, an award-winning singer who has sold more than 300,000 albums, announced Friday that he is seeking the Tory nomination in the new federal riding of Bow River in southern Alberta.
He made the announcement on a radio station in High River, the community devastated in June by torrential rain and floods. Canyon helped out during the relief campaign following the disaster.
"My wife and I were working alongside all of these volunteers, people being completely giving of themselves — strangers — and I saw that empathy and that service and I said to my wife, 'You know, I really feel that I need to serve more."'
Canyon, who lives on a ranch outside the town, said there is no one single political issue that is driving him to throw his cowboy hat into the ring.
He said he just wants to ensure that the largely rural area that includes cattle ranches, grain farms, and oil and gas rigs continues to grow and prosper.
Canyon, 43, said he doesn't plan to give up his music career and may record a campaign song called "Stand Your Ground."
When he sings at concerts he connects with people, he said, and that wouldn't change if he won the Tory nomination or a seat in the Commons and found himself on the political stage.
"When I put on a show, we're having a big visit," he said. "I feel I could really represent them by wearing their hearts on my sleeve."
Canyon said the date for the Conservative nomination meeting for the new riding has not been set yet and he doesn't know who he will be running against.
The sprawling riding includes the communities of Brooks and Taber.
It does not include the town of High River.
The area encompasses parts of the existing ridings of Macleod, which was represented by Conservative Ted Menzies before he retired a few months ago, and Crowfoot, which is represented by Kevin Sorenson, minister of state for finance.
Voters in those ridings have a long history of electing Conservative or conservative-minded candidates.
In the last two elections, Menzies won more than 77 per cent of the vote, Sorenson more than 83 per cent.
Canyon said he will kick off his campaign this weekend, guitar in hand.
— By John Cotter in Edmonton
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