Phil Rowland wants to put the experience he gained in business and community involvement to work for the entire Macleod riding.
A lifetime resident of the High River area, Rowland is campaigning for the Conservative nomination.
“I just have such a passion for the whole Macleod area,” Rowland said.
Rowland is campaigning to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Macleod MP Ted Menzies.
Rowland lives on a farm near Mazeppa and is a fourth generation member of a family whose roots in High River date back six generations.
“I do business all across the riding and I just have a passion for the whole area,” Rowland said.
As an example, Rowland explained that he planted a grain crop at Mazeppa with inputs from High River and Vulcan. He used a broker in Nanton to sell the crop and a trucker in Blackie to haul it to Fort Macleod.
“My business takes me around the whole riding,” Rowland said with a laugh.
Rowland farms and ranches on the prairie at Mazeppa and on land near the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies, so he is well versed in the agriculture industry.
Rowland also worked in the oil industry across Canada and overseas in the early 1980s, mainly in the pipeline sector.
Rowland also has experience negotiating with companies that want to put pipelines, power lines, oil wells and compressor stations on his own land.
Rowland sat on the land agent advisory committee for the Alberta government.
“That gives me a fair sense of the oil industry,” Rowland said.
Rowland is a co-founder of the Okotoks Flight Centre and managed the airport, which his uncle owned, and oversaw the flight training school, maintenance shop, fuel station and charter business.
“It was a pretty thriving little airport business,” said Rowland, who also has experience as a pilot.
Rowland has also been involved in the community through 4-H, sports clubs, church events, charity events and volunteer work.
“That’s just what you do when you’re part of a community,” Rowland said of rolling up one’s sleeves and getting involved at the grassroots level. “It’s not something you talk about actually. It’s just what you do. That’s what a community is.”
Rowland said his involvement as a volunteer in the community would serve him well as the Member of Parliament for Macleod, a job he views as a different type of community service.
“Somebody has to do it, and it might as well be somebody who is part of the community,” Rowland said. “Somebody who has life experience in the community, somebody who has history yet is still young enough to do the job.”
Rowland said it’s the right time in his life to serve as Member of Parliament.
“It’s taking the next step,” Rowland said. “I’ve been involved. Those organizations and groups require a good relationship with their MP. I thought that I would take the next step and be useful to my community in a deeper, meaningful way.”
Rowland identified some issues as he worked on his own campaign.
“I’m all about the strong Canadian economy. A strong economy translates to both national and individual prosperity,” Rowland said. “That goes hand-in-hand with fiscal responsibility. I certainly have a personal track record of being fiscally responsible.”
Balanced budgets and debt reduction are part of Rowland’s campaign.
Rowland is a strong advocate of market access for agriculture producers.
“I’m a free market kind of guy and market access is what you need to have to have a free market,” Rowland said.
Rowland is also concerned about the increasing regulatory burden for business people.
“There are rules and regulations that don’t seem to make a pile of sense,” Rowland said.
The Canada Pension Plan is another issue on the minds of people in the Macleod riding.
“Pension is a big thing with everybody. It needs to be financially stable. We need to know how we’re going to fund our pensions, and we also need to make sure nobody falls through the cracks, especially as Baby Boomers get a little bit on the older side.”
The floods last June and repairing the damage done to both structures and the environment are on Rowland’s mind as he campaigns for the Conservative nomination.
“All up and down the Eastern Slopes, the whole riparian community has lost quite a bit of its plant material,” Rowland said. “I have quite a passion for riparian management . . . somebody needs to be paying attention to what’s happening.”
Rowland had been considering seeking the nomination in 2015 when Menzies was to complete the current term, and believes he is the right person for the job.
“I’m good at listening,” Rowland said “As one of you, I can represent you. That’s the bottom line.”
Although a staunch Conservative, Rowland vows to represent people of every political stripe in the riding.
“As your MP I don’t care what your political alignment is, I have to represent you,” Rowland said. “That’s how I understand the job. There is only one MP.”
“I’ll respect your time and your money like I do my own.”