That guitar sitting on the stage at the Stellarton legion wasn’t going to play itself.
So not long after George Canyon was introduced at a meet and greet Aug. 22, the country music singer turned Conservative candidate in Central Nova, picked it up, strummed a few chords and belted out Ring of Fire.
“If I look a little shell-shocked, I am,” said Canyon, who earlier in the week was parachuted into Central Nova after Roger MacKay stepped aside for reasons that have never been clearly established (MacKay said it was for personal reasons, but wouldn’t elaborate).
Cowboy hat in hand, Canyon had walked up the centre aisle in front of roughly 200 Conservative supporters, ready to take on a new challenge: trying to unseat Liberal incumbent Sean Fraser in the Oct. 24 federal election. All the old Tory guns were there, trying to fire up the posse: Peter and Elmer MacKay, former premier John Hamm, current Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn.
Describing himself as Tory blue “all the way,” Canyon told the party faithful that “I’m here to be the voice of Central Nova”, vowed he wouldn’t “throw dirt” on Fraser during the campaign, but took some shots at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership style, which he compared to a dictatorship.
“When you no longer care about the people you are leading, you are no longer a leader,” he said in reference to Trudeau.
According to Canyon’s official website, he has 13 concert appearances booked for the month of September, most of them in Ontario and the Prairies. In an interview with The News following the meet-and-greet, Canyon acknowledged that he had some catching up to do over the next several weeks.
“We’re going to meet as many as we can,” he said of the election campaign. I am not averse to travel, I am not averse to hard work. I have 60 days, and I’m just going to work my tail off.
“I’ve always wanted to serve, and serving in politics and representing people has been in my heart for quite some time. The opportunity in Central Nova – I couldn’t have dreamed that up in a million years.”
Canyon has lived in Alberta for several years, and he dismissed comments made on social media with respect to whether he can truly represent Central Nova, saying that if you’re from Nova Scotia, “you can never leave Nova Scotia.”
He re-iterated what he said earlier during his speech: that he would not be making personal attacks against the current MP.
“I’ve heard Sean is a great guy and I look forward to meeting him, but I just feel he’s with the wrong party.
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- George Canyon to run for Conservatives in Central Nova
- Some Pictou County Conservatives upset by national campaign choosing new nominee