By Trevor Busch
Brooks mayor Martin Shields will be the federal Conservative candidate for the new riding of Bow River when constituents head to the polls in 2015.
“I’m fantastically humbled by the support throughout the constituency,” said Shields, in an interview on his nomination win earlier this week. “It’s a great honour to be the representative for the federal Conservative party.”
Shields bested his opponents for the CPC nomination following a member vote on Saturday, defeating high-profile candidate Rob Anders.
Anders, a long-time Calgary MP, had parachuted himself into the riding following a humiliating defeat for the CPC nomination in the riding of Calgary-Signal Hill earlier this year. A controversial MP with strong socially conservative values, Anders has been in the public spotlight over the years for his sometimes-inflammatory viewpoints on issues ranging from Nelson Mandela to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Shields said Anders worked hard on his campaign, but was unable to overcome his opponents for the nomination.
“He worked out there, but he just never became the significant threat that he could be.”
Most recently in 2012, Anders was censured for his attack on a veterans affairs support group following their criticism of his conduct involving another well-publicized political faux pas — falling asleep during a committee meeting.
Currently serving as mayor of the City of Brooks, Shields indicated he will be remaining on in his position until a federal election is called in 2015.
“The way it works is, until there’s an election called, then I stay until the election is called, and then I take a leave for the election. Depending on the results, if I was elected, that’s when I would resign from the position of mayor.”
Enhancing his knowledge of Taber and area and learning more about the region’s emergent industries Shields viewed as a major benefit of his nomination campaign, something which will help him serve the area better should he be elected as the riding’s MP in 2015.
“I was president of the Medicine Hat constituency (CPC organization) in the past, which included Taber. I was born in Lethbridge, I’ve known Taber a long time. It was great this time to actually be able to spend more time with people in Taber. I’ve hoed sugar beets as a teenager somewhere in my life — but what has changed, and how it has changed, with the different industries — it was so great to see those and meet the people involved with it.”
A new creation that will become official during the next federal election, Bow River spans a huge swath of southern Alberta, including the population centres of Strathmore, Brooks, Taber and Vauxhall, and has a primarily agricultural focus.
Shields has served on Brooks city council since 2004.