CALGARY - The man who defeated controversial Calgary MP Rob Anders for the nomination in Signal Hill took aim at one of the most powerful members of Stephen Harper's cabinet late Saturday night.
Moments after the results showed he'd won by a comfortable margin, former Alberta cabinet minister Ron Liepert took exception to the fact that Anders had received the endorsement of cabinet heavyweight Jason Kenney.
"Quite frankly I think Minister Kenney should mind his own business. He should go into his own riding and try and get re-elected in his own riding and quit monkeying around at other nominations...anywhere in this province," said Liepert, who made it abundantly clear that he was angry at the interference.
"You're damn right I am. Why? Because it's none of his business."
Liepert, 64, who held the health, energy and finance portfolios as a member of the Alberta legislature before opting not to run in the 2012 election, has never been afraid to speak his mind.
He added that he wasn't worried about any repercussions for his criticism of Kenney.
"I don't care. It might and I'm quite prepared to deal with it if it does," he said.
For his part, Kenny struck a positive tone on Twitter after Liepert's win.
"Congratulations to Ron Liepert on winning the Conservative nomination in the new riding of Calgary Signal Hill. Look fwd to working together," Kenny tweeted.
More than 3,200 memberships were sold in Calgary Signal Hill which takes in part of Calgary West, the riding Anders has held since he was first elected in 1997 as a Reform party member. Party officials said 2,400 votes were cast Saturday.
Anders had accused Liepert's campaign of signing up Liberals and NDP supporters in an effort to unseat him. He released the names of known Liberals Liepert recruited.
During the race, Conservative party officials chastised Anders for what they said were misleading phone calls. His campaign placed calls to party members that might have left the impression they were coming from Liepert's campaign. If the target of the call was unsure about who they would support, the caller proceeded to criticize Liepert.
Liepert said the fact the negative campaign failed should serve as a warning to other candidates across the country.
"We're not into negative politics and I hope this is a good lesson for everyone running going forward that you should run on your record," he said.
"Talk about what you've achieved, what constituents want and stay away from the negative stuff because if there was one thing I heard from residents it was their disgust with the negativity."
Anders is known for his strong social conservative views and gained attention for his sometimes inflammatory statements, including his opposition to granting honorary citizenship to Nelson Mandela, branding the South African leader a communist and a terrorist.
He once compared the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Berlin Games, which were held when Germany was under the control of Adolf Hitler.
In 2012, Anders was dropped from the Commons veterans affairs committee after he lashed out at a veterans support group that had criticized him for falling asleep during a committee meeting. He later apologized for saying his critics were NDP "hacks."
"We fought the good fight. I'm very proud to have fought for tax cuts, for standing up for families. We've taken a lot of great stands on a lot of great issues and it's been fun," said Anders.
Anders said his only regret was that the government didn't cut taxes more.
He said it's too soon to say whether he might consider seeking a nomination in another riding.
Liepert said constituents made it clear they were unhappy with the job Anders was doing.
"We felt right from day one we had a very motivated electorate that wanted to come out and participate and they did," he said.
"The feeling in this riding was that it was time that we had an open, democratic nomination. Certainly the riding residents felt that way and they expressed their views. This is democracy."
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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."