|Big shoes to fill for Little Bow riding|
|Local Content - Editorial|
|Written by production|
|Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:20|
The announcement made yesterday the Little Bow riding’s long-serving MLA, Barry McFarland, will not be seeking re-election in any upcoming provincial election will leave the riding wide open for potential candidates to throw their hats into the ring to represent the riding for the Progressive Conservative Party.
McFarland has been a fixture at the top for Little Bow for nearly two decades, and served in municipal politics for Vulcan County for over a decade previous to seeking election as an MLA in Premier Getty’s government.
Just who might step up to the plate to replace him is anyone’s guess, but the fact a rookie MLA with no previous provincial government experience will be heading to Edmonton in the future, be they from any party, is a virtual absolute.
The riding will be losing a veteran MLA in McFarland who knows the ins and outs of provincial government and is known by other members in his government as a party stalwart and a defender of rural Alberta.
His replacement by a fresh face with a fresh perspective on the future of Little Bow could mean good things, and changes in the far-ranging corners of the riding, which should not necessarily be greeted with trepidation.
A new MLA, for instance, could potentially mean the increased promotion of the riding’s profile, as well as the possibility of a future cabinet appointment — which is hard to be viewed as a negative for Little Bow.
Still, as McFarland states in this week’s front-page article, there will certainly be those in the riding who are reluctant to see him step down and retire from politics — those who considered him an effective voice for Little Bow and its myriad concerns at the provincial level, and those whose conservative values are more in line with an MLA of the Klein years than with the progression of the party into the tenure of Premier Alison Redford.
Whoever replaces McFarland, be they thoroughly rural, or from one of Little Bow’s growing urban communities, change will inevitably be the order of the day.
The prospect of a brewing political face-off over the nomination had been possible, considering the boundary changes to the riding would have placed another long-serving MLA and former Agriculture and Rural Development Minister George Groeneveld within the boundaries of Little Bow. But with the announcement made by McFarland yesterday and by Groeneveld several weeks ago that both would not be seeking re-election, Little Bow is now a political hot potato.
For now, McFarland is pledging to remain at the helm until the end of his current term as MLA. But with a provincial election assured either in the spring or by next fall, one thing is certain — change lies in the future for Little Bow.
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