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Central Nova Conservative candidate George Canyon addresses members concerns about appointment

Central Nova PC candidate George Canyon meets Conservative supporters during a meet-and-greet Aug. 22 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Stellarton.
Central Nova PC candidate George Canyon meets Conservative supporters during a meet-and-greet Aug. 22 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Stellarton. - Kevin Adshade

Board members affirm Canyon's candidacy

NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

Country singer George Canyon offered to take his name off the ballot in Central Nova after other Tories who vied to run for the party complained about him being appointed by the national campaign rather than through a process at the local level.

But the local Conservative riding association wants to keep him in the saddle for the upcoming federal election.

“Our candidate, George Canyon, after reaching out to the other three gentlemen (who had previously sought the conservative nomination for Central Nova), has expressed clearly and honestly to our board of directors that he was willing to step aside and allow another selection process to occur, if that indeed was what the board desired,” Central Nova Conservative Association president Ryan Sharpe said in a letter Thursday to local party members.

“He also expressed that he was unaware of how this process unfolded and had no part in the transition, other than to step up and agree to be the Conservative candidate in the upcoming election.”

Sharpe said that after consulting with each board member individually, they all agreed to “fully and enthusiastically” support Canyon during this election campaign.

“While we may have questions about the communication of this appointment, we are fully in agreement that he is an exemplary candidate that can defeat the incumbent and return Central Nova to the Conservative fold,” Sharpe stated.

Canyon had been named by the federal party as the Conservative candidate following the resignation of Roger MacKay, who stepped down citing personal reasons. The federal campaign appointment was consistent with the constitution and bylaws of the party, Sharpe said.

“Given the shortness of time before the election and the quality of the candidate, he was quickly offered the candidacy, and accepted it.”

Luke Young, who lost to Roger MacKay in the May nomination meeting, had expressed his disappointment at the way Canyon’s appointment came about.

“I think that it’s unfortunate that the process was handled as poorly as it was handled,” he said Thursday.

But at this point, he said, “the train left the station” and he doesn’t think there’s any appetite for trying to change the candidate or hold another nomination meeting.

He confirmed that Canyon had reached out to him and said they went for a coffee.

“I think it makes me feel better that he recognizes that the process wasn’t done the way it was supposed to be,” he said.

Young doesn’t believe he will be able to vote Conservative in the upcoming election, however, saying that his grudge isn’t with Canyon, but more so with the party at a national level.

“Really this is not about George, as far as I’m concerned,” Young said. “I think he is a very decent person. He is someone who overall has a great character. It’s more about the Conservative Party and the way they’re willing to operate.”

Wes Surrett, who had also competed for the nomination, said he has been inundated with calls, texts and Facebook messages from people expressing their frustrations since Canyon’s appointment. He said Canyon did reach out to him and they had a conversation, but he said he doesn’t believe that the board endorsing Canyon is going to satisfy all the members.

“What I’m gathering from the members is they’re upset that their vote didn’t count for anything. I think that’s where the frustration lies. They don’t feel like it was a democratic process.”

Surrett said that at the previous nomination meeting, local Tories had a chance to hear where all the candidates stood on major issues. But that didn’t happen with Canyon.

“We didn’t have the chance to hear that,” Surrett said.

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