May 31st, 2020

City Notebook: Say what you will, Barnes sticks to his politics no matter what

By Medicine Hat News Opinion on May 23, 2020.

To quote the title of a popular children’s book, Drew Barnes has had a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” couple weeks … on social media at least.

The MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat got zinged a bunch of times in May for, among other things, how he operates a substantial rental property portfolio, him extolling a hypothetical strategy to pay government workers 20 per cent less, and his apparent questioning about the need for strict pandemic controls.

And that’s just from the left side of the political spectrum.

He’s also been questioned from the right and middle on why southeast Alberta’s priorities seem to remain in the background.

The good news for Barnes though, is that chatter on the interweb doesn’t often matter a whole lot outside of it.

But it’s sort of piling up.

He’s also been wondering out loud about the size and compensation of the premier’s office staff, and continuing to advocate for ongoing provincial funding for HALO (an issue that seems to be breaking the wrong way for the local air ambulance service).

One wonders how happy his cohorts in government are about this, or that he remains one of the most accessible MLAs and speaks off the cuff with the media. With little doubt that’s not in the playbook.

No one will accuse Barnes of being an outlandish showman looking for ink. It’s sort of what’s endeared him to a majority of voters in south Medicine Hat and the region. Like his politics or not, he sticks to them, and they are seemingly hand-in-glove with the United Conservative Party’s.

But, questioning government – perhaps even his own – is his forte, and his personal mantra – “less government, more freedom and local decision making” – has the last point sticking out like a bit of a sore thumb.

Ever since the UCP won a majority government in May 2019, Hatters have been wondering how Barnes fits into it.

Are we now finding out?

A look ahead

In terms of COVID happenings, more heath services and operations are set to resume throughout the province on Monday – the same day that Brooks and Calgary are set to join the rest of the province in stage one “relaunch” protocols. A stage two in Alberta – including the remainder of retail businesses and personal service providers – still has no firm date, but officials have said it would commence no sooner than mid-June.

The next phase in Saskatchewan is set to begin on June 8.

The Alberta legislature resumes sitting on Wednesday morning.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at

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One Response to “City Notebook: Say what you will, Barnes sticks to his politics no matter what”

  1. mr black says:

    At best Barnes is just a widdle lap dog with no teeth. The outcome is a foregone conclusion, why drag it on when we already know the outcome?

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