Twice denied an opportunity to run for the leadership of the Wildrose Party, controversial Conservative Party Member of Parliament Rob Anders is still lurking in the shadows of the deflated Alberta conservative opposition party.
As reported by the Medicine Hat News, Mr. Anders has been making personal phone calls to conservatives in Medicine Hat in support of Wildrose nomination candidate Dustin Nau.
Here’s a recording of the phone message left by Mr. Anders:
In the recorded phone message, Mr. Anders described Mr. Nau as “a good guy” and a “good solid social conservative” who did two tours in Iraq with the United States military. Mr. Anders says he believes Mr. Nau will would be a real asset for the Wildrose Party going forward in the next election.
Speaking to the Medicine Hat News, Mr. Nau denied knowing Mr. Anders personally and denied ever serving in the U.S. military. He was not able to answer why Mr. Anders was making phone calls in support of his campaign.
After failing to secure federal Conservative nominations in Calgary-Signal Hill and Bow River, Mr. Anders unsuccessfully appealed to the Wildrose Party executive to allow him to run for the leadership. Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, before she crossed the floor to the Progressive Conservatives in December 2014, said Mr. Anders was not welcome to run for the party in the next election.
Late last year, Mr. Anders publicly mused about starting his own conservative think-tank once his 17-year career as an MP ends in 2015.
Mr. Anders is well-known for his controversial conservative views in Ottawa, having called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, insulting Canadian veterans, calling for war against Russia, and blaming Thomas Mulcair for hastening the death of former NDP leader Jack Layton.
The 17-year Conservative MP was recently featured in a YouTube video, where controversial Calgary street preacher Art Pawlowski, flanked by Gospel Elvis, dedicates a prayer to Mr. Anders. (Cabinet minister Ric McIver took heat for his support of Mr. Pawlowski’s activities, including the anti-gay March for Jesus, during the 2014 leadership contest).
New Wildrose leader on March 28
Anticipating a provincial election within weeks, the Wildrose Party executive decided to push forward the date of its leadership contest to March 28, 2015. A 12-day phone-in vote will take place from March 18 to 28, 2015.
Candidates for the leadership include former Fort McMurray-Athabasca Conservative MP Brian Jean, former Strathcona County mayor Linda Osinchuk and Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes.
Ms. Osinchuk is already nominated as the party’s candidate in Sherwood Park and Mr. Barnes has secured the nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
Rumours have been circulating that Mr. Jean could run in Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills if current Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw decides to leave provincial politics. The provincial constituency is located in the southern half of the federal riding Mr. Jean represented from 2004 to 2014 in the House of Commons.