CALGARY - The self-proclaimed "poster boy" for blue Conservatives went down to defeat Saturday night at the hands of a former Alberta cabinet minister.
Ron Liepert defeated MP Rob Anders in the battle for the Conservative nomination in the rejigged riding of Calgary Signal Hill.
Liepert, who is 64 and a former member of the Alberta legislature, thought he had left public service in 2012 but found himself on the ground floor in January with a group seeking to remove Anders as MP.
"When we started this campaign about three months ago what we wanted to do was reengage Conservatives and get ready for the 2015 election," Liepert told reporters after his win.
"I'd heard far too long in this riding that people felt they didn't have an opportunity to select the candidate they wanted to vote for if they wanted to vote Conservative," he added.
"We achieved our goal. We achieved it with a very comfortable majority and I think now we move on and we move forward."
Anders, who is no stranger to controversy, had painted the nomination fight as a battle between blue and red Conservatives.
First elected as a Reform MP in Calgary West in 1997, Anders accused Liepert of signing up what he called “Instant Tories” from Liberal and NDP supporters in a bid to unseat him.
Anders wasn't on hand for the announcement, electing to spend the night at a northwest Calgary bar, but he did speak briefly to reporters afterward.
"I've been honoured to represent Calgary West in Parliament and I love my volunteers. We did a lot of good work over the last number of years. We recruited so many young people and trained them up," Anders said.
"I'm a movement Conservative and I love the work that we've done and what we fought for."
Anders said he has yet to decide what he will do after his term is over.
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<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/rob-anders-transgender-bill-c270_n_1939007.html?ref=topbar" target="_hplink">Anders faced harsh criticism after posting a petition on his website opposing what he calls the "bathroom bill."</a> The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/rob-anders-transgender-bathroom_n_1941280.html" target="_hplink">legislation in question would would give the transgender people greater protection under human rights law</a>, but Anders' position expressed fears that it will allow transgender men to use women's washrooms, which could put children at risk. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/rob-anders-transgender-washrooms-bathrooms_n_1939364.html" target="_hplink">Twitter users in particular were outraged by Anders' stance</a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/20/transgender-rights-bill-canada-passes-tories_n_2919264.html" target="_blank">The bill was approved by the House of Commons in March, 2013.</a>
Mulcair 'Hastened' Layton's Death
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/01/rob-anders-layton-mulcair_n_1928965.html" target="_hplink">Anders was denounced by politicians and pundits after he suggested in an interview that NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair helped to "hasten" Jack Layton's death</a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/01/rob-anders-apology-jack-layton_n_1929537.html" target="_hplink">Anders apologized soon after</a>, but his contrition has not stopped many from calling for his resignation.
War Of 1812 And 'Islamic Terrorism'
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/13/rob-anders-newsletter-1812-terrorism_n_1880913.html?utm_hp_ref=rob-anders" target="_hplink">Anders was denounced by the Canadian Islamic Conference</a> after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/10/rob-anders-newsletter-1812-islamic-terror-war_n_1872170.html?utm_hp_ref=rob-anders" target="_hplink">sending out a newsletter to constituents which compared the War of 182 to the fight against "Islamic terrorism."</a>
Attacks Tony Clement And Own Party
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/13/rob-anders-tony-clement-norman-bethune_n_1671147.html" target="_hplink">Anders lashed out on Sun News at Tony Clement and his own party after the Treasury Board President paid tribute to Norman Bethune</a>, a Canadian doctor who has become a hero in China but who was also a card-carrying communist.
Premier Alison Redford
During the 2003 Calgary West riding nomination, in which he was up against now Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Anders said he had the win in the bag, unless Calgary lawyer Redford, "got some magic support base of people who like feminist lawyers."
Calgary West Riding Association
Rob Anders has been embroiled in at least two party nomination fights, in which his riding association and others running for Anders’ seat have claimed the party has ‘stacked the odds’ in favour of the incumbent, while also refusing to disclose the reasons why other Tories wanting to run for the seat have been unable to do so. In 2010, 24 of the 32-member riding board quit over one of those disputes.
Rob Anders was booted off a veterans committee this spring. Anders called committee members NDP "hacks" who praised Vladimir Putin after they claimed publicly the Calgary MP fell asleep during committee presentations. The members he attacked are Canadian Forces members who volunteer their own time and money to help.
Asleep in the Commons
Nov 17, 2012. Anders is famously caught on TV sleeping and head-bobbing during House of Commons question period. The video goes viral.
Probably his most infamous moment - Rob Anders calls Nelson Mandela a Communist and a terrorist and is the only Parliamentarian to vote against making the South African human rights leader and former president an honourary Canadian in 2001.
'Pull The Trigger'
In 2010, in a card supporting Canadian troops, Anders wrote: "When in doubt, pull the trigger." The Department of National Defence distanced itself from the remarks.
"All I can say on citizenship at birth is that Australia requires at least one parent to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident for the child to qualify. It is something we should consider as well." On preventing children in Canada from having automatic citizenship.
In 2001, then Veterans' Affairs Minister John McCallum famously refers to Anders as being politically "... to the right of Atilla the Hun."