First elected in 1997, Rob Anders gained notoriety in 2001, voting against honourary citizenship for Nelson Mandela and calling him a “terrorist” – a sentiment Anders doubled down on earlier this year after Mandela’s death. In between, he has been a punching bag for progressives, and pretty much everyone who follows politics (except for former Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson, who developed a serious man-crush on Anders, calling him “too precious to lose”).
While Paul Jackson will be sad to see the demise of his precious, it’s hard for political bloggers to not feel a little sad about all the content we’re losing. What made Anders a reliable source of fodder was how…original, his controversies were. Any politician can gaffe, get caught in a lie, or espouse a position the mainstream finds repugnant. We see that all the time. What made Anders special (precious even) was that he would say things so out of left field, they barely made sense. Like the time he suggested Tom Mulcair was responsible for killing Jack Layton. Or lamented that bilingualism was destroying Canada, much the same way the decay of Latin led to the fall of Rome. Back in 2005, he sent pamphlets about chrystal meth to a BC riding that included a “tough on crime” survey asking people if they supported “homosexual sex marriage”.
Then there were the days when Anders was asleep on the job – literally. First, in the House of Commons, then at a Veterans Affairs committee hearing. True to form, Anders accused the veterans who made their claim of being “NDP hacks”…only to find out later they were card carrying Tories. This was a common line of defence for Anders, who saw vast left wing conspiracies every time someone tried to defeat him (or messed up his dry cleaning order).
So while Anders’ defeat is a relief for the voters of Signal Hill (and Canada), it is a sad day for those of us who have taken great joy in ridiculing the man over the years. Yes, there’s still Rob Ford, but come October, he might also find himself out of work. What then?
On the other hand, Rob Anders is still an MP, and assuming he doesn’t run elsewhere, now finds himself unshackled from worries of re-election or having his nomination papers signed. The man still has a podium (and a Twitter account) for another 18 months, and nothing to lose. I highly doubt Rob Anders is just going to nap through his final term as an MP. We most certainly haven’t heard the last of this politician we all love to hate.