|Member of Parliament
for Calgary West
|Preceded by||Stephen Harper|
April 1, 1972 |
|Profession||Member of Parliament|
Anders was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Before being elected he worked for the Republican Party on the 1994 senate campaign of Jim Inhofe in Oklahoma as a professional heckler, which earned him the label of "a foreign political saboteur" from CNN. Before 1997 he had also served as the director of Canadians Against Forced Unionism, an organization related to the National Citizens Coalition.
Anders was first elected as the Reform Party MP for Calgary West in 1997, at age 25. The seat had been vacated when the former MP for the riding, Stephen Harper, resigned unexpectedly in 1996. Despite his relative youthfulness, Anders was already a veteran political organizer, and was able to win a hotly contested nomination in one of the safest Reform ridings in Canada. Along with fellow newly elected MPs Jason Kenney and Rahim Jaffer and advisor Ezra Levant, Anders was part of an up-and-coming group of young Reformers which pundits dubbed the "Snack Pack" due to their relative youth and girth.
Anders was a supporter of Stephen Harper's successful 2002 bid for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance, providing significant assistance with the campaign's phone-banking.
In 2003, Anders voted for a Bloc Québécois proposition which stated that the Québécois form a nation and could withdraw from any federal initiative. He was the only non-Québécois to vote for this proposition.
Anders was formerly a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. He was removed from that position, partly based on his tendency to fall asleep during meetings. He has been reassigned to the House-Senate Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations. He is also a former member of the Reform Party (1997–2000) and the Canadian Alliance (2000–2003). He is a former Official Opposition Critic for National Defense and former Co-Chair of the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated his support of Anders, stating that "Rob is a true reformer and a true conservative. He has been a faithful supporter of mine and I am grateful for his work."
In 2011 Rob Anders began to lobby for the government to stop funding the CBC.
Anders was the sole parliamentarian to vote against making Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen of Canada in 2001, which prevented the act from passing unanimously. He defended his actions by stating that Mandela was a communist and a terrorist, causing widespread criticism. As a result, during the past two federal elections, Anders has been the target of a mostly unsuccessful non-partisan "Vote Out Rob Anders" campaign in his riding, but his popular vote percentage has increased every federal election since he was first elected in the 1997 Canadian federal election. Until 2006, his percentage of popular vote progressively increased from 51.79% in 1997 to 58.7% in 2006. His raw numbers in the popular vote dropped in 2004 by less than 2000 votes over his 2000 election but rebounded in 2006 to his highest vote total to date. Voter turnout in his riding for the 2006 election was the highest in Alberta  at 69.9%. In 2008, Anders' share of the popular vote declined slightly to 57.4%.
In December 2005, Anders used public funds to send pamphlets to residents in Richmond, B.C., a constituency far removed from his own. The leaflets caused bewilderment for including a survey question about "homosexual sex marriage" in a flyer otherwise addressing crime and crystal meth abuse.
Anders has been a consistent critic of the human rights record of the People's Republic of China. He has described the PRC as "the worst human-rights abuser in the world," and compared the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He argued that "China is the wrong choice to host the Games... I absolutely 100% think it compares to the Berlin Olympics in 1936." Anders highlights that the fact that Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to participate in the Olympics is comparable with Adolf Hitler's issue with Jewish participation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics." Anders has also said that no Canadian politician should attend the games, nor should any Canadian athletes be used as "propaganda tools." His comments were criticized by local Chinese trade association as well as fellow Calgary Tory MP Deepak Obhrai who disclaimed Anders "was speaking as an individual and his comments are not reflective of government policy."
In 2010, in a card supporting Canadian troops, Anders wrote: "When in doubt, pull the trigger".
Anders' decision to become involved in the newly formed Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta has generated controversy, as the Wildrose Alliance Party had hoped to defeat the ruling Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta in the province's 2012 election. Ron Liepert, Alberta's Minister of Energy, accused Anders of campaigning against him.
In February 2010, nineteen members of Anders' Calgary West riding association resigned en masse, citing interference from the Conservative Party. The 32 member board had been planning to ask Conservative Party members at the riding's upcoming annual general meeting whether they wanted to hold a nomination contest. The party's national council intervened, saying it had already declared Anders as the candidate for the next federal election, and threatened to take control of the annual general meeting of the constituency association. The resignations brought the total number of board members who had resigned over the course of one year to twenty-four.
In March 2012, Anders was removed from the Veterans Affairs Committee following controversial comments in response to arriving late, texting, and falling asleep at a committee meeting (including calling his accusers NDP hacks who praise Vladimir Putin).
In July 2012, Anders opposed his own party and criticized Treasury Board President Tony Clement for funding a visitors' centre honouring to Norman Bethune, a Canadian physician who died while performing emergency medicine for the Chinese resistance against the Japanese occupation of China. According to Anders, "You don't need taxpayer money to go ahead and memorialize somebody who was a fan of the biggest killer in human history [Mao Zedong]", referring to Bethune's communist ideals although Bethune had died ten years before Mao took power.
In September and October 2012, fellow Conservative Party members disassociated themselves from Anders' belief that New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair "Hastened the death" of former NDP leader Jack Layton by encouraging an election while being in questionable health.
In October 2012, Anders attracted some controversy by calling Bill C279, a private member's bill that would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and hate crime section of the Criminal Code to include "gender identity" and "gender expression" as grounds for discrimination, a "bathroom bill".
On December 6, 2013, Anders spoke out after the death of Nelson Mandela saying "If you are looking for another perspective you may be interested in the obituary that David Horowitz wrote for the Freedom Centre".
Anders has devoted his time to a variety of right-wing organizations. Some of these include lobby groups and think tanks such as Focus on the Family, the Canada Family Action Coalition, and to several causes opposing the Government of China's policies regarding Tibet and Falun Gong.
- Drowsy Tory MP Rob Anders dropped from Veterans Affairs Committee. National Post, March 28, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Anders removed from veterans affairs committee. The Chronicle Herald, March 29, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "Stephen Harper: Quotations by and about Canada's Conservatives". In Their Own Words.
- Curry, Bill (September 23, 2011). "CBC funding under microscope in Conservative surveys". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- "PM blasts MP for blocking Mandela honour". CBC. June 8, 2001.
- "Vote Out Rob Anders!". voteoutanders.com.
- Bennett, Nelson (December 9, 2012). "Calgary MP wants your thoughts on homosexual sex marriage". Richmond News. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- Calgary MP compares China to Nazi regime
- "Calgary MP advises soldiers to 'pull trigger'". CBC. June 1, 2010.
- D'Aliesio, Renata (October 21, 2009). "Wildrose supporters rankle Alberta Tories". Calgary Herald. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- "Members quit Anders' riding association". CBC. February 10, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
- Fitzpatrick, Meagan. "Calgary MP Rob Anders booted off veterans committee".
- Rob Anders Joins Criticism Of Tony Clement And Conservatives Over Norman Bethune Centre
- "CBC News - MP Rob Anders criticized over 'bathroom bill' comments Transgender community not happy with Calgary politician". CBC News. CBC News. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- "CBC News - Rob Anders still no fan of Nelson Mandela". CBC News. CBC News. Retrieved December 6, 2013.