Rob Anders’ paycheque-saving bid for the Tory nomination in the new riding of Bow River has set off the usual accusations of carpetbaggery – mostly from local Tory hacks who thought they had the rotten borough sewn up.
The bug-eyed nutbar, readers will recall, was sent packing in his re-jigged riding of Calgary-Signal Hill by Ron Liepert, after years of being protected by the party from nomination challenges in his restive riding. He resurfaced in Chestermere, where he now claims residency, though he still maintains his digs in Calgary.
The local contenders, Brooks Mayor Martin Shields, Rocky View County Reeve Rolly Ashdown and ex-Mount Royal economics prof Gerard Lucyshyn, are tirelessly shit-talking Nob as an interloper with no roots in the rural riding, who’s about to get his city-boy ass handed to him.
Steady, now. Anders may be a repellent, narcoleptic whackjob and the most useless of minimally-functioning backbench floaters, but when it comes to securing his publicly-funded meal ticket, he’s a human CIMS.
They still speak with puzzled awe of the time Anders showed up unannounced to volunteer on Joan Crockatt’s 2012 by-election campaign in Calgary, asking for signs.
Since no one had yet agreed to deliver any signs or persuade voters to take them, and despite entirely valid reservations that the kilt-fancying fruitloop would prove a liability to the campaign, they shrugged and let him load up.
Turned out Robbie had already reconnoitred the riding, door-knocking and cold-calling every household to wheedle the occupants into taking a sign.
The voter contact sheets were filled out in obsessive-compulsive detail — dogs’ names, kids’ names, illnesses, vacuum cleaner model – anything, to the point where data entry volunteers started bitching about the workload. In the event, he was single-handedly responsible for getting some 800 signs onto lawns.
The locals have their advantages in this set-to (Shields is considered a lock in his Brooks-area fiefdom and Ashdown swings enough pipe with riding executive thingies to schedule the still-unannounced nomination meeting to his advantage), but Nob’s got two decades of indefatigable organization on his side.
While Justice Minister Peter MacKay was recently left to clumsily spin a photo taken with National Firearms Association kooks, in which he’s sporting one of their T-shirts (just playing dress-up for a passing veteran, as you do), Anders and the NFA have been in each others’ holsters for years, sharing mailing lists, causes and events, like a 2003 firing range fundraiser where guests took turns shredding Liberal party logoed targets with an Uzi. What larks!
How will Anders’ firearm fetishism play with his prospective constituents in Taber, infamous for a 1999 shooting at G.W. Myers High School High School that left one student dead and another wounded? The board to this day sends out regular bulletins like this to parents:
“As our school year begins, we wish to inform you of Horizon School Division’s policy regarding high-risk behaviours. In order to enhance a sense of safety and security in our schools, Horizon School Division has zero tolerance for not responding to high-risk behaviours. These are behaviours that involve weapons, threats to harm, or vicious assaults.”
Er, may the best man win.