FOXBROOK: The campaign for the upcoming federal election in Central Nova has just become a little more star-studded, with the Conservative Party announcing country music star George Canyon as their new candidate.
The seven-time Canadian Country Music Association Award winner will replace Roger MacKay, who in a Facebook post on August 19 announced he was withdrawing from the race, citing personal reasons.
“The Conservative Party of Canada has known my position for quite a few years, they knew I wanted to step up and serve – I saw what was going on, and I needed to help out, I needed to do something, I can’t be an armchair quarterback my whole life,” Canyon told The Reporter last Thursday after visiting his nanny on her 91 birthday. “When they told me it was Central Nova, I got weak in the knees – this is my home, it’s unbelievable to me that I get to do this in this riding.”
In 2014, Canyon sought the Conservative nomination for the Bow River riding in Calgary but withdrew due to a minor cancer scare.
Canyon acknowledges his wife, Jen has been his biggest supporter of what he’s wanted to do for a long time, and when this opportunity came up, she told him her gut was telling her it was the right time, they need to make a change, they need to be there for the families of Canadians and that he was the right guy for the job.
Immediately, Canyon was on a flight back to Nova Scotia.
“Being from Central Nova, being from Nova Scotia it’s such a special thing it’s hard to describe to people who aren’t from here what it’s like,” he explained. “It makes my heart just soar, to be from here.”
Canyon wants to make the jump into federal politics because he wants to represent the people of his home, he wants to be their voice and he wants to do it for the right reasons.
“What I’ve witnessed is ego taking over and making decisions for the person, not the people who put them there.”
Canyon’s first taste of politics occurred when, as a young boy, his father took him to meet Elmer MacKay and explained what MacKay’s job was.
“My father took me out to his wood lot, introduced me to Elmer, and told me, ‘I trust this man with your life,’” Canyon explained. “And we don’t have that anymore, we need that, we need Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party back in power, we need to take control of our country again for the right reasons, we need to put families first, we need to put Canadians first.”
The biggest concern for Canyon in Central Nova is the fact families are working themselves to the bone and not getting ahead. He’s heard from families who are barely getting by, who are barely making their mortgage payments, and are cutting all the corners they can.
“I know what that feels like, when I first started out, I played pubs on the weekend making $75, and Jen worked three jobs, so I could follow this dream,” Canyon said. “We barely had enough to get by. If we were to take my family then, and put them into today’s day with what Trudeau has done, we would not survive.”
Addressing the notion that he’s not a full-time resident in Central Nova and that he’s been a rancher in Alberta, Canyon highlighted the fact that he was born in Nova Scotia and the province remains in his heart.
“My wife supported 15-years of my career. I went on Nashville Star and I got my big break. She sat me down and asked if it was time to support her dream,” Canyon advised. “It was always her dream to have a ranch along the Rocky Mountains, so of course I supported her one million per cent, I supported her dream and she supported mine.”
As Canyon prepares to step into the federal light, he advises he won’t cancel his Western Canadian “Hit After Hit” Tour, which is scheduled from September 6-21, but will be back in Nova Scotia full-time after that wraps up.
“My dad taught me, ‘you’re a man of your word, and so if you shake someone’s hand and you guarantee them something, then you’re doing it,’” he said. “So I will keep my obligations, my commitments and I’m not going to cancel that. I’m going to work myself to the bone in making it work but the people of Central Nova are worth it.”