Drew Barnes
Drew Barnes (cropped).jpg
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Cypress-Medicine Hat
Assumed office
April 23, 2012
Preceded byLen Mitzel
Personal details
Born (1961-05-21) May 21, 1961 (age 60)
Moosomin, Saskatchewan
Political partyIndependent (2021-Present)
Other political
United Conservative Party (Until 2021)
Residence(s)Medicine Hat
EducationUniversity of Alberta, Bachelor of Commerce
OccupationMLA, Rancher, Realtor

Drew Barnes (born May 21, 1961) is a Canadian politician who was elected in the 2012, 2015 and 2019 Alberta general elections to represent the electoral district of Cypress-Medicine Hat in the 28th, 29th and 30th Alberta Legislatures, respectively. Formerly a member of the United Conservative Party, he now sits as an Independent.[1] He was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan.[2][3]

In the past he has been the Critic of Infrastructure and Transportation, Critic of Finance and Treasury Board, Critic of Environment and Sustainable Development, Caucus Whip, Critic of Innovation and Advanced Education, Health Critic and Energy Critic for the Wildrose Official Opposition and the UCP Official Opposition.[4] He has served on the Standing Committees of the Alberta Heritage Trust Fund, Public Accounts, Resource Stewardship, Families and Communities, Alberta Economic Future, and Private Bills.[5] He authored two reports, ("How to Build Alberta Better" and "On Time, On Budget", and co-authored "Twin Highway 63 Now" and "Debt Free Capital Plan".[6]


Barnes was born in Saskatchewan and moved to Medicine Hat with his family in 1974. He studied at Camrose Lutheran College and the University of Alberta, where he completed his bachelor of commerce degree.

Barnes pursued a 26-year career in real estate. He owned and managed a successful real estate office in Medicine Hat and was a member of the Medicine Hat Real Estate Board from 1983 to 2009, and served as president in 1991.

An entrepreneur and businessman, Barnes owns a number of businesses in Medicine Hat, which include a construction company, Belcore Homes, a storage facility and a property management company. He also owns commercial and residential property throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan and has irrigation and ranchland, on which he raises commercial beef, and rodeo stock.

An active member of the community, Barnes has been involved in many organizations in Medicine Hat and area. He has served as campaign chair and president of the United Way of Southeastern Alberta. A former president of the Kiwanis Club and Opportunity Capital Corporation, he is also a past member of the Kinsmen and Hockey Hounds.[7]

In August 2012, Barnes and a colleague went on a fact finding mission to Fort McMurray to learn more about Highway 63.[8] They called on the government to release a timeline for the completion of twinning the highway.

In late February 2015, Barnes announced he would enter the race for leader of the Wildrose Party[9] and finished second.

On July 22, 2017, The Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservative Party merged to become one entity, namely the United Conservative Party—both parties voted to merge with >95% approval.[10] Barnes had been vocal about his desire to unite the entities and came forward to endorse[11] United Conservative Party Leadership candidate, Jason Kenney, on August 2, 2017.

On May 13, 2021, Barnes and fellow UCP MLA Todd Loewen were expelled from the UCP after a caucus-wide vote after both criticized the government response to COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta.[12]

Climate change controversy

In March 2017, Barnes donated $200.00 to a fund raiser for the research project and documentary initiated by John Robson regarding climate change. Barnes, a strong proponent of free speech and democratic reform, believes in exploring all sides of all subjects. "Barnes told Global News that at no time has he ever denied climate change, but said he is interested to learn what policy options Robson might propose.

"When I go around Cypress-Medicine Hat, many people say to me that they'd like to know more about the science behind climate change. They'd like to know how big an impact man's having on it. They'd like to know why some of these other predictions haven't come true," he said.

"It's absolutely about making sure the environment is 100 per cent protected, but it’s also about making sure that our policies are the best ones and it's also about making sure Albertans have full information on both sides of the argument."[13]

Fair Deal Panel

In June 2020, Barnes released a response to the Fair Deal Panel's recommendations in which he advocated for putting an independence referendum on the table.[14] Barnes was one of three UCP MLA's named to the panel- The Fair Deal Panel in late 2019. The panel also consisted of six other members for a total of nine initial participants. The purpose of the panel was to host town halls around Alberta, and find out how Albertans felt about issues pertaining to Alberta's role in Canada. To develop an understanding of how Albertans saw their economic role and future security within Canada.[15] MLA Barnes's release of a dissenting report to the final report of the initial panel has seen him accused of being a separatist by the Alberta New Democratic Party.[16] Barnes indicated that he is not a separatist, but would be open to separation if he felt there was no other option.[17]

Electoral history

2019 general election

2019 Alberta general election: Cypress-Medicine Hat
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Conservative Drew Barnes 16,483 67.06% -9.13%
New Democratic Peter Mueller 6,396 26.02% 5.58%
Alberta Party Colette Smithers 1,122 4.56%
Alberta Advantage Party Terry Blacquier 359 1.46%
Liberal Anwar Kamaran 219 0.89% -2.48%
Total 24,579
Rejected, spoiled and declined 93 59 10
Eligible electors / turnout 36,597 67.44% 14.56%
United Conservative gain from Wildrose Swing 4.06%
Source: "57 - Cypress-Medicine Hat, 2019 Alberta general election". officialresults.elections.ab.ca. Elections Alberta. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
Alberta. Chief Electoral Officer (2019). 2019 General Election. A Report of the Chief Electoral Officer. Volume II (PDF) (Report). Vol. 2. Edmonton, Alta.: Elections Alberta. pp. 249–254. ISBN 978-1-988620-12-1. Retrieved April 7, 2021.

2015 general election

2015 Alberta general election
Party Candidate Votes %
Wildrose Drew Barnes 8,523 54.5%
Progressive Conservative Bob Olson 3,375 21.6%
New Democratic Bev Waege 3,233 20.7%
Liberal Eric Musekamp 496 3.2%
Rejected, spoiled and declined
Eligible electors

2012 general election

2012 Alberta general election: Cypress-Medicine Hat
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Wildrose Alliance Drew Barnes 7,098 53.60% 45.97%
Progressive Conservative Leonard Mitzel 4,738 35.78% -27.56%
Liberal Jon Mastel 770 5.81% -16.91%
New Democratic Manuel Martinez 637 4.81% 0.91%
Total 13,243
Rejected, spoiled and declined 75 47 5
Eligible electors / turnout 26,199 50.85% 15.16%
Wildrose Alliance gain from Progressive Conservative Swing -11.40%
Source: "55 - Cypress-Medicine Hat, 2012 Alberta general election". officialresults.elections.ab.ca. Elections Alberta. Retrieved May 21, 2020.


  1. ^ "Member Information".
  2. ^ "Wildrose candidate Drew Barnes hosts open house". Bow Island Commentator. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  3. ^ About Drew Barnes
  4. ^ "Member Information".
  5. ^ "Member Information".
  6. ^ "Wildrose MLAs". Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  7. ^ "Member Information".
  8. ^ "Wildrose MLAs challenge government on twinning". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  9. ^ "Barnes announces candidacy for Wildrose leadership". Medicine Hat News. February 27, 2015. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  10. ^ Bellefontaine, Michelle. "Wildrose and PC members approve unite-the-right deal with 95% voting Yes". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  11. ^ Slade, Gillian (2017-08-03). "Barnes Backing Kenney for UCP Leadership". Medicine Hat News. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Drew Barnes & Todd Loewen expelled from UCP Caucus". Western Standard. May 13, 2021. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  13. ^ "Wildrose energy critic Drew Barnes funds doc questioning climate change science | Globalnews.ca".
  14. ^ Barnes, Drew (2020-06-17). "Letter to Premier Kenney Regarding Fair Deal Panel Report". Drew Barnes Live. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  15. ^ "Premier Jason Kenney announces 'Fair Deal Panel' to advance Alberta's interests, like pipelines | Globalnews.ca".
  16. ^ NDP Caucus, Alberta (2020-06-18). "BARNES TAKES UP LEADERSHIP OF SEPARATIST MOVEMENT WITH FIERY LETTER TO KENNEY". Alberta NDP Caucus. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  17. ^ Naylor, Dave (2020-06-18). "NDP demands UCP throw Drew Barnes out of caucus for "separatist" letter". Western Standard. Retrieved 2020-07-04.