Rob Anders

Politicians in Cowboy Hats 2015: Lassoing Votes, Stampeding to the Polls, and Other Puns

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Politicians in Cowboy Hats | Leave a comment

For a brief history of Stampede fashion, you can read the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014 round-ups – or “100 Years of Bad Photo-Ops

All eyes were on Calgary this weekend, as Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Thomas Mulcair kicked off the pre-election BBQ circuit. Despite the extra media attention, this year’s fashion round-up is a rather tame affair. When you get the truly horrible photo ops is during leadership races when Bay Street Liberals and Annex Socialists venture west for the first time. For the three men vying to win this fall’s election, this isn’t their first rodeo.

In what could very well be his final Stampede as Prime Minister, Stephen Harper leaves the leather vest at home.

In what could very well be his final Stampede as Prime Minister, it’s worth reflecting on Stephen Harper’s time in office. He may not have grown as a leader, but the man has certainly come a long way from the leather vest days.

I can see the attack ads now. "Just Trudeau flips pancakes 5 feet in the air. Do you want someone this  reckless in charge of the Canadian economy? In an uncertain economy, we need Stephen Harper's steady hand."

I can see the attack ads now. “Just Trudeau flips pancakes 5 feet in the air. Do you want someone this reckless in charge of the Canadian economy? In an uncertain economy, we need Stephen Harper’s steady hand.”

Props to Tom Mulcair for bringing the entire family, even if he got the Calgary hashtag wrong.

Since he brought his entire family, I’ll give Mulcair a pass for getting Calgary’s hashtag wrong.

And, of course, everyone had to get their picture with Calgary’s most photographed landmark, Naheed Nenshi.

nenshi with everyone

I assume this wasn’t Rachel Notley’s first Stampede, but this marks the first Stampede where anyone recognized Rachel Notley. That placed a lot of pressure on her, especially since Ed Stelmach called it the “Alberta Stampede” and looked completely out of place during his first Stampede as Premier.

Notley…well she rode a friggin’ horse. Anyone who rides a horse is deemed to have won at Stampeding. It’s that simple.

notley

As for what’s left of the Alberta PCs? The good news is their entire Calgary caucus could carpool together in the parade this year.

Alberta PC caucus could share a car on the parade

Finally, we end this post on a sad note. After losing two nominations and being told “thanks but no thanks” in his bid to run for the most right wing party in Canada, this will mark Rob Anders’ final Stampede as an elected member of Parliament in Calgary. Luckily, Rob took it in stride and was still smiling.

anders

SUPER IMPORTANT VERY URGENT UPDATE:

No sooner had I posted this round-up, than Rachel Notley did the unthinkable, and was caught wearing her cowboy hat backwards.

harper notley3.jpg

As discussed above, a Premier’s first Stampede is a dangerous place.

Still, Notley gets credit for riding a horse and not grimacing like she was trapped in some kind of hillbilly horror show. As for her slip-up, the Post’s Jen Gerson put it best:

Mocking Notley for her imperfect grasp of the white Smithbilt during Stampede is a little like picking on a cosplay actor who misplaced the buttons on the breathing apparatus of a Darth Vader costume at ComiCon.

The Rob Anders Rejection Tour Continues

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Alberta Politics | 5 Comments
Rob Anders, hard at work

Rob Anders, hard at work

I know I said I wouldn’t blog much over the next year, but if I have to come on here every time Rob Anders loses a nomination, I’m going to run out of bandwidth.

Here was Rob back in July, on his decision to seek the CPC nomination in Bow River:

“I really feel that [Bow River] is the Alberta I moved to in the 1980s. It’s a place with more trucks, and it certainly wouldn’t have elected someone like Naheed Nenshi, or other liberals pretending to be Conservatives these days. I feel a real connection. I find the people there are actually very sympathetic. They’re real Conservatives and you certainly feel that. There’s a strong pro-life movement going on in this riding, all sorts of hunting and shooting ranges.”

Today Anders was defeated by Martin Shields, who I can only assume is a secret Liberal. I mean, the guy doesn’t even own a truck.

After being rejected in Bow River, the question now becomes where Rob turns next. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, who signed the nomination papers for a candidate who said gays would “burn in a fiery lake for eternity“, has already said “thanks, but no thanks” to Rob, gently suggesting he move to the private sector. There is the upcoming Yellowhead by-election, but that’s a riding that elected “secret Liberal” Joe Clark four times. So scratch that.

If only there were a group of voters who would “never elect someone like Naheed Nenshi”, longing for a leader cut from Rob’s cloth.

Sadly, the deadline to run for Mayor of Toronto has passed, so this might very well be the end of Rob Anders.

10 Years of Blogging

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Featured Posts, Federal Politics | 8 Comments
Happy Trails

Happy Trails

Back when I first sat down to rant about politics on May 15th 2004, I never expected I’d still be doing this over 3,000 posts later. The blog has outlasted 3 Liberal leaders, been through 4 federal elections, and documented my involvement on a handful of losing leadership campaigns. During that time, Bart Ramson turned into Dan Arnold, I moved to Edmonton, finished school, and became a “Toronto Grit”. Shortly thereafter, Naheed Nenshi became mayor of Calgary and Rob Ford became mayor of Toronto. Go figure.

Nenshi and Ford have provided me with bountiful amounts of blogging material, but they have not been alone. There was the Michael Ignatieff experiment, on which so much virtual ink was spilled. There was the coalition crisis, which gripped the nation. There was the rise of the Wildrose Party, which led to the rarest of things – an exciting Alberta election. There was the orange wave. And, through it all, there was still time to poke fun at Politicians in Cowboy hatsand leather vests.

Another source for much blog content has been Justin Trudeau, but he is also the reason content has been, and will continue to be, scarce here. I’ve recently started working for the Liberal Party which, needless to say, limits what I’m able to write about. And really, what’s the point of blogging if I don’t have Rob Anders to kick around anymore.

You may still find the occasional retrospective or Pierre Poilievre rant, but this site will be taking a breather from deeper political analysis, at least until after the next election.

So a big thank you to everyone for reading over the years. I’ve always been in awe of the high caliber of discussion in the comments section of this site, and have appreciated the e-mails. As vain as it is to count clicks, the fact that I knew people were reading certainly motivated me to keep at it for a decade. So, to everyone, thank you.

I leave you with a list of 10 of my favourite posts from over the years. These aren’t necessarily the most viewed or the best posts – just 10 that I had a lot of fun writing.

1. Follow the Leader: I only include this post as a humbling reminder about how unpredictable politics can be, and how wrong I’ve been on many occasions. Just one year before Paul Martin’s resignation I provided odds on 13 possible Liberal leadership contenders without listing Stephane Dion, Bob Rae, or Gerard Kennedy. I do mention Michael Ignatieff, but only in what may have been the most awesomely off-the-mark sentence in the history of this blog – and I quote – “This week, we saw Peter C. Newman toot Michael Ignatieff’s name which is interesting because that’s about as serious a suggestion as Justin Trudeau”. Heh.

2. Greatest Prime Minister: In a March Madness style contest, blog readers voted for Wilfrid Laurier as Canada’s Greatest Prime Minister. This begat a series of other contests including “Best Premier”, “Best Prime Minister We Never Had”, “Biggest Election”, and, coming this summer, “Best Minister of Natural Resources”.

3. The Race for Stornoway: 2006 was really the heyday for political blogging. From the “Draft Paul Hellyer” movement, to candidate interviews, to the blogging room at the convention itself, blogging was as close to “cool” as it would ever be.

4. A Beginner’s Guide to Alberta Politics: For some reason, I seemed to blog a lot more about Alberta politics after I left Alberta.

5. Christmas LettersElizabeth May, Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff, Stephen Harper. People, myself included, take politics way too seriously sometimes. So it’s good to have some fun with it.

PS. Ed Broadbent.

6. Leadership Power Rankings (here, here, and here). The wonderful thing about politics is how unpredictable, complicated, and human it is. That’s why I love the challenge of trying to quantify it.

7. Moments of Decade: Hopefully I’m blogging again by 2020, because this is an exercise I’d dearly love to repeat. Readers nominated and voted on the top political moments of the decade, with the Alliance-PC merger topping the list. It wasn’t as exciting as the coalition crisis or the Belinda Stronach Chuck Cadman confidence vote insanity, but it set the stage for the rise of Stephen Harper.

8. On October 6th vote for proper scaling of the Y-Axis. Vote Liberal. Tim Hudak math burn!

9. What’s the Matter with Calgary? Having lived in both Calgary and Toronto, I’ve always been absolutely fascinated by the Nenshi-Ford dichotomy. Elected a week apart, these men are opposites with so much in common, who both shattered their cities’ stereotypes. When I first moved to Toronto, a lot of lefties would shake their head and “tsk tsk” when I said I was from Calgary. Not any more.

10. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Census (But Were Afraid to Ask): I’ve never been of the opinion that Stephen Harper is a monster who has destroyed Canada beyond recognition. Even on issues where we disagree – the gun registry, climate change, Quebec as a nation – I understand where he’s coming from. However, of everything Harper has done, his decision to scrap the long form census remains the thing that boils my blood. Here was the party who sends Happy Hanukkah cards to swing voters calling the census too “intrusive”. It wasn’t an assault on the welfare state or big government, it was an assault on reason. It showed that Harper offered nothing more than government by truthiness.

And that, is why I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next bit to help defeat him.

Vote Out Anders

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
It was Ron Liepert by a nose for the Calgary Signal Hill Conservative nomination.

It was Ron Liepert by a nose for the Calgary Signal Hill Conservative nomination.

“Secret Liberal” Ron Liepert has done what a mayor, cabinet minister, and premier failed to do – defeated Rob Anders. And, boy, do typing those words ever feel good.

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.

Quotes of the Year

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics | 7 Comments

Scroll to the bottom to vote on your favourite quote…

ford plenty to eat

“I am Conservative. I am a traditionalist. I wish I left Cabinet in the traditional way – with a sex scandal!”
Stephen Fletcher, after being removed from Cabinet

“When I stand back and look at the cast of candidates, even I would pick me. I have to be plain about that.”
Sandra Pupatello

“You know, there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest.”
-Justin Trudeau

“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.”
Rob Ford

“I don’t even remember. Probably in one of my drunken stupors.”
Rob Ford, on his cocaine use

“You’ve just attacked Kuwait.”
Rob Ford

“I’m happily married, I have more than enough to eat at home.”
Rob Ford on, uhh…umm….

“It was kind of like what they did to Jesus.”
Doug Ford, on council’s treatment of his brother

“Then there is this evil Liberal name that haunts us still and wants to hand out drugs to our kids. This ghost of the NDP wants to acquire heroin with taxpayer money and inject it into the veins of Canada’s children.”
Rob Anders

“Canada will never be a safe haven for zombies!”
John Baird

“So the question is, is the money just in the wrong filing cabinet, is it hidden in the minister’s gazebo, is the money in the banana stand?”
Tom Mulcair

“I think, though, this is not a time to commit sociology.”
Stephen Harper

“Realizing I may have made a major mistake in my openness and transparency: vicious attacks coming because I don’t drink coffee.”
Justin Trudeau

“I can’t believe I actually have to say this, but I’m going to say it. The river is closed. You cannot boat on the river. I have a large number of nouns that I can use to describe the people I saw in a canoe on the Bow river today. I am not allowed to use any of them. I can tell you, however, that I have been told that despite the state of local emergency, I’m not allowed to invoke the Darwin law.”
Naheed Nenshi

“Happy holidays to all you infidel atheists out there”
Brian Pallister

“There was a time not long ago that most of us in this leadership race would not have been deemed suitable. A Portuguese Canadian, an Indo-Canadian, an Italian Canadian, female, gay, Catholic. We would not have been able to stand on this stage. But this province has changed. Our party has changed. I do not believe the people of Ontario judge their leader on the basis of race, sexual orientation, colour or religion. I don’t believe it. They judge us on our merit, on our expertise, on our ideas, because that’s how everyone deserves to be judged.”
Kathleen Wynne

Canada’s Greatest Losers

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Featured Posts, History | 7 Comments

Liberals elected this loser at their 1919 leadership convention

Last week, Martha Hall Findlay and Karen McCrimmon declared their candidacies for the Liberal leadership race. This week, George Takach has taken the plunge. I’ve posted one blog interview with David Merner, and will have others with David Bertschi and Alex Burton next week. Deborah Coyne, meanwhile, has already released more fresh ideas than we’ve seen from Stephen Harper during his entire tenure as Prime Minister.

These are seven very different candidates with seven very different messages, but the one thing they share in common is that none of them hold a seat in the House of Commons. This has prompted Warren Kinsella (and others) to gently suggest they do us all a favour and drop out, before they jump in. As the saying goes, if you can’t win your own riding, you can’t win the country.

Now, Warren is free to support whomever he chooses using whatever criteria he chooses. And as far as criteria go, electoral track record is a pretty important one to consider. I know I’d have a difficult time supporting anyone who has never held elected office. That said, it’s likely worth looking at a few “losers” from history, before we automatically disqualify every “loser” from consideration.

John Diefenbaker: This guy could put together losing campaigns more consistently than the Toronto Maple Leafs. Before being elected, he lost twice federally, twice provincially, and once for Mayor. Despite being a five-time loser, the Tories went with Dief in ’56, and he rewarded them with the largest majority in Canadian history.

Mackenzie King: Even though he lost his seat in both the 1911 and 1917 elections, the Liberals put their faith in King at Canada’s first leadership convention in 1919. King would go on to become the longest serving PM in Commonwealth history…losing his own seat twice more along the way.

Jack Layton: Jack beat out three candidates with seats at the 2003 NDP leadership convention, even though he’d never been elected to any position higher than Councillor. He’d lost in his bid for Mayor, finished fourth in the 1993 federal election, and lost by over 7,000 votes in the 1997 federal election. Despite this track record of defeat, the Dippers went with Jack and he rewarded them by becoming the NDP’s most successful leader ever.

Brian Mulroney: Brian hadn’t even won a City Council election when he became PC leader, and had lost in his previous leadership bid. In his first ever election, he won over 200 seats.

Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, John Turner: Although they had perfect records in their own ridings, all three lost a leadership race before becoming Liberal leader. Losers.

Stephen Harper: Harper did not hold a seat when he ran for Canadian Alliance leadership in 2002. At that time, he had a rather uninspiring “1 win and 1 loss” record when it came to local elections – and remember, that’s a .500 record from a Calgary conservative.

Those are just a few of the many losers who won their party leaderships. Indeed, the only examples from the past 30 years of national parties electing “winners” who had never lost their riding or a leadership race are Stephane Dion, Audrey McLaughlin, Stockwell Day, and Peter MacKay. MacKay killed his party, and the other three almost did.

That’s not to say that all “winners” become “losers”, but you need to go all the way back to Justin Trudeau’s father in 1968 to find a successful leader who had a perfect electoral record when he first took over his party’s leadership. And while I don’t want to dismiss Pierre Trudeau’s accomplishments, I suspect most barnyard animals could have held Mount Royal for the Liberals in 1965.

The above examples come from federal politics, but we see it everywhere. Just eight years before becoming President, Barack Obama lost a primary race for a congressional seat by a 2:1 margin. Alison Redford couldn’t even beat Rob Anders in a nomination meeting.

So while I wouldn’t dismiss a candidate’s electoral record (or lack thereof), it’s important to remember that a lot of winners have quickly turned into losers, and a lot of losers have gone on to have very successful careers.

Vote Out Anders – Part 84

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics | 2 Comments

Only Rob Anders has this theory, because he pays closer attention to the House of Commons than anyone else.

At least when Rob Anders is sleeping, he can’t say anything too offensive:

And so, [Anders] has a theory.

“I actually think one of the great stories that was missed by journalists was that Mr. Mulcair, with his arm twisted behind the scenes, helped to hasten Jack Layton’s death,” he said.

“It was very clear to me watching the two of those gentlemen in the front benches, that Jack Layton was ill and that Mr. Mulcair was making it quite obvious that if Jack wasn’t well enough to fight the campaign and fight the election that he should step aside, and that because of that, Mr. Layton put his life at risk to go into the national election, and fight it, and did obviously an amazing job considering his state of health, and that he did that partly because of the arm-twisting behind the scenes by Mulcair and then subsequently died.”

Riding Talk

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Alberta Politics, Federal Politics | 13 Comments

The electoral commission could have saved us a lot of time by painting this map blue

The new riding maps are out! The new riding maps are out! It’s Christmas in July for political geeks!

As you may be aware, new riding boundaries will be in place for the 2015 election, and the commissions tasked with drawing said ridings have begun releasing them. Yesterday, the proposed Alberta maps were published, following up Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and British Columbia.

While riding changes inevitably lead to squawks of protest, my first reaction to the Alberta map is almost completely positive. Gone are Edmonton’s awkward rurban ridings, with the majority of Edmonton’s seats now purely urban. The Calgary-Edmonton corridor is more tightly contained, as is Lethbridge. Even the riding names have improved – gone are the boring compass ridings in Calgary (“Calgary North East”, “Calgary East”, “Calgary South-East”…), replaced with far cooler names like Calgary Heritage, Calgary Confederation, and Calgary Spy Hill. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be the MP for Calgary Spy Hill?

Although there are some fairly significant changes to the rural map, the commission added new urban ridings without having to use too much white-out on the map. Edmonton Strathcona remains largely unchanged, which is good news for Alberta’s lone opposition MP. Ditto for the riding formerly known as Edmonton Centre (AKA Anne McLellan’s old seat). Without doing any kind of vote transposition, my eyeball estimate also pegs Edmonton Millwoods and Edmonton Griesback (have I mentioned how much I love the new names?) as possible pick-ups for the non-Conservative forces, if everything breaks right. (Edmonton before and after can be seen here, over at Daveberta)

In Calgary, the changes needed to be a bit more pronounced, with two new ridings added to the city. Still, the Calgary Centre that will host a by-election this fall will be largely the same Calgary Centre we’ll see in 2015. As for the other seats, I would expect Stephen Harper to claim Calgary Heritage, Jason Kenney to grab Calgary Midnapore, Rob Anders to take Calgary Signal Hill, Michelle Rempel to run in Calgary Confederation, Dianne Ablonczy to continue her reign over Calgary Nose Hill, Devinder Shory to choose Calgary McCall, and Deepak Obhrai to set up shop Calgary Forest Lawn. That would set up hotly contested Tory nominations for the new Spy Hill riding in the city’s rapidly growing north-west, and Calgary Sheppard in the city’s rapidly growing south-east.

While there’s no reason to believe the Tories won’t go 10 for 10 in 2015, the new ridings do offer a glimmer of hope for the Liberals and NDP in the long run. Calgary Centre remains a progressive oasis in the city’s downtown, but the real gift from the new boundaries might be the change from Calgary North-Centre to Calgary Confederation, with the richer suburbs to the north punted in favour of the University of Calgary campus. The riding is now full of polls the Liberals carry provincially, so it’s not unfathomable to imagine it might one day turn red. The demographics of Calgary Forest Lawn should also make it a long-term target for progressives in Calgary.

Bag ‘O Links: Alberta Edition

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1. We’ve known Rob Anders has been asleep on the job for years…though this may be the first literal instance:

Still, I’m sure most who have heard John Duncan speak will have some sympathy for Anders.

2. Alberta Liberal MLA Bridgit Pastoor is heading back to the Tories, as part of the “future considerations” in this spring’s Raj Sherman deal.

3. But who can blame Pastoor for jumping ship when the Tories are at 51%, according to a new Environics poll? With the opposition parties all under 20%, the Tories appear poised for a crushing victory on…umm…

4. …sometime this spring. Yes, Redford has kind of delivered on her “fixed election date” promise, scheduling elections for sometime between March 1st and May 31st this year. Officially, this flexibility has nothing to do with poll numbers, and everything to do with the ability to adapt to unforeseen events, such as a natural disaster or one of Alberta’s hockey teams going on an extended playoff run.

Turns out Albertans like "feminist lawyers", after all

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rob Anders, back in 2003:

Anders, speaking of his Calgary West nomination opponent, Alison Redford, says he is confident he’ll have little trouble rounding up enough party votes to defeat Redford, “unless she’s got some magic support base of people who like feminist lawyers.”

On Saturday, Redford came out of nowhere to triple her first ballot support and win the Alberta PC leadership race. She will be Alberta’s next Premier.

Plugin from the creators of Brindes Personalizados :: More at Plulz Wordpress Plugins