POLITICS

Rob Anderson, Wildrose Critic, On Premier's Parking Spot: He Was In A Hurry, Had To Park There

03/21/2012 04:02 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT
CP
EDMONTON - Rob Anderson, the Alberta Wildrose party's designated question period pit bull, is known for trying to get under the premier's skin — now he's using her parking spot.

Anderson admitted Wednesday he exchanged words with a legislature security officer Tuesday night after he mistakenly parked his truck in Premier Alison Redford's spot during debate.

"I thought she was a little overly aggressive in her tone, and I said I would be contacting her superior as a result of that and I went and moved my car," said Anderson.

"That's basically it. There were no harsh words."

It was the latest contretemps in what as become a downright nasty, vicious fight between the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrosers, who are running one-two in polls just days before an election call.

Solicitor General Jonathan Denis, who oversees legislature security, told reporters earlier Wednesday that he was distressed by reports Anderson had parked in the premier's 24-hour reserved stall beside a rear door of the legislature.

Denis said he was told Anderson was rude to the sheriff and even pulled out the always-endearing "Do you know who I am?" bully line.

Anderson said he did use the line, but more as a question rather than a rhetorical put-down given that the sheriffs routinely memorize the faces of the politicians to allow them quick access to the building.

He said she made him haul out his ID and then continued finger-wagging, prompting him to say he would take the issue over her head.

Denis said it was bigger than that.

"He had threatened the sheriff's job by going to the supervisor. I'm the supervisor," he said, adding the sheriff was not going to be reprimanded.

"Mistakes happen, but the sheriffs deserve to be treated with respect," he said.

Anderson called it a mountain out of a molehill from a party feeling the heat in pre-election polls. He also labelled Denis a shameless puppet master.

"He likes to use some of the people he oversees in order to make stories that aren't there," he said.

The acrimony between the front-runners has spilled onto the floor of the legislature in recent days, particularly between Anderson and Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

The two regularly trade insults on Twitter before, during, and after question period.

On Tuesday, Anderson went after Lukaszuk in the house for a recent conference call during which Lukaszuk told parents in Anderson's Airdrie riding that if they want to get new schools built, they need to tell Anderson to stop opposing government.

Lukaszuk said what he meant was for them to ask Anderson to stop opposing the debt-financing schemes the government needs to use to get lots of schools built quickly.

That didn't stop the fur from flying.

Anderson demanded Redford fire Lukaszuk. When she refused he shouted, "What a spineless answer, premier!"

At one point, Lukaszuk and Anderson ignored the Speaker and just started yelling back and forth at one other.

"Why don't you read the (full) transcripts (of what I said to the parents)?" said Lukaszuk.

"I did read them," Anderson shot back. "You should be so embarrassed at yourself right now. You should just shut your yap!"

There is no love lost between Anderson and the Tories. He quit the caucus two years ago to join the Wildrose, saying he could no longer tolerate the top-down, centralized decision-making of then-premier Ed Stelmach.

On Wednesday, he said the legislature has become a pressure cooker.

"Look, this is the silly (pre-election) season, right. We've got solicitor generals trying to make big news by mischaracterizing incidents like we've just seen here," he said.

"Let's just drop the writ and get going."