It finally happened. The man who called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, insulted Canada’s veterans, and called for war against Russia, has suffered his first major defeat since he was first elected in 1997.
After a campaign filled with accusations of dirty tricks and political mischief, arch conservative Member of Parliament Rob Anders lost the Conservative Party nomination in the new Calgary-Signal Hill riding. After 17-years and many attempts, Calgary’s political establishment finally managed to achieve their goal of denying Mr. Anders the party nomination he needs to win in the next election.
It highlights how divisive a figure Mr. Anders is that Calgarians rallied around and many outsiders (including myself) quietly cheered for his opponent, Ron Liepert. The former provincial cabinet minister’s record suggests that he is not a Red Tory, as some would expect, and perhaps not even a moderate conservative.
During his time in provincial politics, Mr. Liepert was known as a hard-nosed conservative bulldog who the media cast as the bully of the Alberta Legislature. He will fit in well in Stephen Harper‘s Ottawa.
To his credit, Mr. Liepert accomplished something that many other challengers failed to do. Mr. Anders had until yesterday succeeded in the past in besting high-profile challenges from former MLA Jocelyn Burgener, future premier Alison Redford and future MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans in nomination votes and defeated future Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier and former Liberal MLA Frank Bruseker in general elections.
Unless he decides to seek a nomination in the neighouring Calgary-Rocky Ridge riding or elsewhere, Mr. Anders is now partially unleashed from his partisan obligations in the next campaign and could cause serious trouble for Mr. Liepert and his party before the 2015 election.
While Mr. Liepert may not prove to be a huge improvement from Mr. Anders, he and his team have certainly done Canadians a service by delivering Mr. Anders the political defeat he deserved.
I am sure I speak for many Canadians when I say: good riddance, Mr. Anders.