Country music singer George Canyon announced this morning he will seek the Conservative nomination in Alberta's new federal Bow River riding.
- Has your riding changed? Find out here
- MPs face nomination battles, redrawn ridings in lead-up to 2015
- Country music stars announce Alberta flood benefit concert
- Ted Menzies, former cabinet minister, stepping down
"The people in this riding are resilient and hard working. I was blown away by how well we all pulled together as a team while under the terrible stress of the flood crisis last year, the recovery of which is still ongoing," Canyon writes in a release.
"I live in this community and these people are my friends and neighbours. It would be an honour to represent them as a member of Parliament."
The new riding will include the communities of Brooks and Taber to the south of Calgary, but will also include a large chunk of land to the east and north of the city, all the way to the border of Drumheller. It encompasses part of what is now the Crowfoot riding, a seat held by Conservative MP Kevin Sorenson.
Versions of the riding have existed under other prime ministers, from Diefenbaker to Mulroney, says Canyon.
“I kind of giggled because the boys in my band always tease me on stage and say I’m kind of a combination, when you look at me, between Buzz Lightyear and Brian Mulroney, because of my chin," Canyon told CBC News.
Canyon won't quit country
The singer was quick to point out the move is not a career change.
- Listen to his full Calgary Eyeopener interview below:
“Music is ingrained in me, and I’m actually working on new music right now, I’ve got a new single coming out, a new album.”
Canyon says he's always been drawn to serve. The musician says he had planned on a future with the military before he developed Type 1 diabetes.
He now speaks to children across the country living with the disease, and was awarded the Canadian Country Music Association Humanitarian Award for his work with Canadian troops, according to the release.
Canyon, who lives on a ranch just outside High River with his wife, says it was the June floods that devastated that community and others in southern Alberta, that convinced him to run for politics.
“This past summer that we went through here in southern Alberta — as everyone knows — was heartbreaking and devastating, but what I got to witness and what I got to be a part of with my family, volunteering alongside of complete strangers — complete strangers! — that didn’t know anybody, giving of themselves covered in, let’s be honest, poopy, smelly water in a lot of these basements and, you know me, I’m a simple guy, I speak my heart, that’s what it was."
The musician also says he has travelled extensively, selling more than 300,000 albums which have garnered him multiple awards.
Canyon says he will spend the next few weeks travelling around the area to meet with residents.
The Bow River riding was created ahead of the next Canadian election, following the redistribution of federal electoral districts, which happens after every 10-year census to reflect the changes and movements in Canada's population.
Alberta gained six new ridings, and is now divided into 34 electoral districts.
This story has been updated from an earlier version that contained incorrect information about the new riding of Bow River and a map of an earlier boundary proposal. In fact, Bow River will include Brooks and Taber, not Claresholm and Fort Macleod, as depicted in the final map shown above.Jan 24, 2014 12:47 PM MT