Living far away from the federal riding of Calgary Signal Hill, even I could hear the bells ring out and the cries of ‘free at last!’ when Rob Anders was defeated by Ron Liepert in the riding nomination race. The fact that it took the actual riding association to get rid of him speaks volumes about what would have likely happened if his name had been again put forward to run in the next election – another win for him despite the litany of boneheaded comments and actions made by him for 17 years as a member of parliament. It speaks volumes because the majority of people in Calgary would vote for a potted fern if it ran as the Conservative nominee in any federal election.
Rob Anders is a disgrace to politics, the public service and the human race. To this day, I still don’t know what was going through everyone’s minds as they voted him into office six times. Well, yes I do. I know the reason. It is purely superficial. What I’d really like to do is interview everyone who voted for Rob Anders over the last 17 years and find out what was really going through their heads when they marked an X next to his name in the polling station. I mean really, why? It still can’t be because of their ongoing sweaty night terrors about Pierre Trudeau trying stealing their oil. It can’t. Too much time has passed for any reasonably sane human being to have that kind of ridiculous festering eating away at them for decades. It makes no sense, kind of like how a person like Rob Anders getting elected to public office makes no sense. Both defy logic and reason.
Anders was one of the last hold outs from the old whiny Reform Party – the West’s answer to the PQ in Quebec. At first, the Reform Party had good intentions to reform government. Unfortunately, soon after, it was taken over by right-wing extremists and western separatists – tags that have followed and haunted every incarnation of the party since (including the current Conservative Party). Anders was one of these right-wing extremists whose exclusionary views, no matter how insensitive or outlandish, seemed to fall on deaf ears of those who voted for him.
It seemed that no matter what he said or did (insulting veterans, sleeping on the job, insulting Nelson Mandela, defamatory, bizarre, preposterously worded rhetoric surrounding gun control, gay marriage, etc., etc., etc.), all of it failed to resonate with people in his riding, who by their actions, agreed with every ridiculous thing he did and said. After every election that we won, you just were floored at the voters’ inability to do the right thing and boot him out of public office and were left saying “what is wrong with you people?! Open your eyes and your ears!” But that’s the problem. Anders was the king at pulling the wool over people’s eyes.
In the end, he ended up looking like the pathetic person that he is. You could tell on the day of the nomination vote (one of the few times he actually showed himself in public during such an event that the media managed to capture) that from day one of his first election to the bitter end, he was solely focused on the single demographic that put him into office – the old crotchety right wing person who grumbles constantly about taxes and young people. As always, living in the past, the future caught up to him.
You could tell the people in the riding were out for blood. It was their chance – finally to get rid of him without the risk of a general election and the ‘Pierre Trudeau stole my oil’ windbags out of the equation. Though it would have been even sweeter to see Anders go down in a general election, it was satisfying the see him get his comeuppance. Unfortunately, a person like Anders (even with a $100,000 per year pension) gets used to the pig trough of public money, so expect to see him haunt another election in one form or another.
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