|Member of Parliament|
for Calgary West
June 2, 1997 – August 4, 2015
|Preceded by||Stephen Harper|
|Succeeded by||Riding Abolished|
|Born||April 1, 1972|
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Political party||Conservative (federal, 2003–present)|
Wildrose Party (provincial)
Canadian Alliance (2000–2003)
|Residence||Calgary, Alberta, Canada|
Robert J. "Rob" Anders (born April 1, 1972) is a Canadian former politician. He represented the riding of Calgary West from 1997 until 2015 and was a founding member of the Conservative Party of Canada.
On April 12, 2014, Anders was defeated by former provincial minister Ron Liepert for the Conservative nomination in Calgary Signal Hill, which included the bulk of his former riding, for the next federal election.
Anders was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. At the time of his first election in 1997 he 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 in 1996. It was expected that Anders would run in a by-election, but the 1997 election was called earlier than expected.
In March 2003 Anders introduced Bill C-414 as a private members' bill. It was entitled "An Act to amend the Special Economic Measures Act (no foreign aid to countries that do not respect religious freedom)." The purpose of the bill was to stop Canadian government from spending the foreign aid budget in countries that did not allow for religious freedom.
Anders introduced Bill C-570 on January 29, 2014, which would amend the criminal code to provide for mandatory minimum sentences for rape.
36th Parliament (1997–2000)
Anders served in several different critic roles in opposition. First as critic of the Senate from June 16, 1998 to 1999 as well as associate critic for Human Resource Development from his first election to July 31, 2000. In August 2000 he was appointed associate critic for Citizenship and Immigration.
Along with fellow newly elected MPs Jason Kenney, Monte Solberg, Rahim Jaffer and advisor Ezra Levant, Anders was part of an up-and-coming group of young Reformers which pundits dubbed the "Brat Pack" due to their relative youth - all aged under 30; and girth.
37th Parliament (2001–2004)
On June 18, 2001 he became associate critic for National Defence, until appointed critic for Civil Preparedness from Jan 22, 2004 until the 2004 election.
Over time Anders has served in several leadership roles on parliamentary committees. In the 37th Canadian Parliament he was the vice-chair of the Subcommittee on National Security of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
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 next two federal elections, Anders was the target of a mostly unsuccessful non-partisan "Vote Out Rob Anders" campaign in his riding, but his popular vote percentage increased in every federal election since he was first elected in the 1997 Canadian federal election.
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.
38th Parliament (2004–2005)
In the next parliament Anders became the co-chair of the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee.
In December 2005, Anders used public funds to send pamphlets to residents in Richmond, British Columbia, 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.
39th Parliament (2006–2008)
In the 39th Canadian Parliament, after the Conservatives came to power, he was elected chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.
40th Parliament (2008–2011)
In the 40th Canadian Parliament he had three different committee leadership jobs: vice-chair of the Government Operations and Estimates Committee, vice-chair of Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates and co-chair of Library of Parliament Committee.
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 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 2010, in a card supporting Canadian troops, Anders wrote: "When in doubt, pull the trigger".
41st Parliament (2011–2015)
Since the 2011 Canadian election, Anders has served as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Industry, Science and Technology Committee and the Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.
He was removed from his position on Veterans Affairs, partly based on his tendency to fall asleep during meetings. He was reassigned to the House–Senate Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations. In 2011 Anders began to lobby for the government to stop funding the CBC.
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 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", and claiming that they 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 Center".
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."
Before the nomination race he ultimately lost, Anders defeated several high-profile challengers for the local Conservative nomination.
In 1997, 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.
In 2000 he defeated MLA Jocelyn Burgener for the Canadian Alliance nomination. Before the 2004 federal election Anders was challenged by future Alberta Premier Allison Redford. Redford's campaign was run by Ron Liepert, who would later challenge Anders for the new Calgary Signal Hill constituency.
In 2007 Anders was re-nominated by the Conservative party without a challenger. This led to a court challenge, which initially rescinded the decision and called for a new nomination. This decision was overturned on appeal, and Anders was the candidate in the 2008 Canadian Federal Election.
Ahead of the 42nd general election, Anders ran for the Conservative nomination in Calgary Signal Hill, essentially a reconfigured version of Calgary West. However, he was defeated by former provincial cabinet minister Ron Liepert. Anders had characterized the nomination contest as a fight for the party's soul. He was rebuked by the party for making misleading phone calls that left the impression they were coming from Liepert's campaign.
After losing the nomination race for Calgary Signal Hill, Anders decided to contest for the nomination in the new electoral district of Bow River, a mostly rural riding east of Calgary. Anders moved into the district in order to present himself as a resident of the district but he faced a challenge from the mayor of the City of Brooks, Martin Shields; former Rocky View County reeve Rolly Ashdown; and an economics professor from Calgary's Mount Royal University, Gerard Lucyshyn. All have been long-time residents of the district.
On September 20, 2014, Anders lost the nomination for Bow River to Shields. His entry in the race for Bow River caused resentment amongst the other candidates who felt that Anders had parachuted into the riding after losing the nomination race in Calgary Signal Hill.
Anders serves as president of Firearms Institute for Rational Education. In 2016, he traveled to Arizona to support the campaign to elect Donald Trump as President of the United States.
At the provincial level, Anders is a member of the Wildrose Party in Alberta and publicly renewed his membership in the wake of the December 2014 defection of 9 of its MLAs, including party leader Danielle Smith, to the governing Progressive Conservatives. Anders expressed interest in running in the Wildrose party's leadership election to choose a successor to Smith after she crossed the floor to join the ruling Progressive Conservatives, however, on January 23, 2015, the Wildrose executive announced that Anders was not qualified to run as he did not meet the minimum 6 month membership requirement and that the party would not be issuing a waiver to permit him to be a candidate.
Alleged tax evasion
In 2020, the National Post reported that Anders had been charged by the Canada Revenue Agency for tax evasion. Most of the five charges that were laid dated to the period of 1997 to 2015, when he was a member of parliament. Anders is scheduled to face trial on tax evasion charges on October 25, 2021.
Anders has faced high-profile opponents. In 1997 he defeated Dave Bronconnier, who later became the Mayor of Calgary. In 2000 he defeated Jim Silye, a former Reform MP who was now running for the PCs.
|2011 Canadian federal election|
|New Democratic||Shawna Knowles||6,666||10.36||+4.01|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||64,346||100.00||–||$102,535|
|Total rejected ballots||338||0.52||+0.15|
|2008 Canadian federal election|
|New Democratic||Teale Phelps Bondaroff||3,832||6.35||-1.94||$7,402|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||60,282||100.00||–||$96,909|
|Total rejected ballots||221||0.37||+0.08|
|2006 Canadian federal election|
|New Democratic||Teale Phelps Bondaroff||5,370||8.29||+1.81||$2,960|
|Canadian Action||Tim Cayzer||265||0.41||-0.15||$2,356|
|Total valid votes||64,761||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||191||0.29||-0.04|
|2004 Canadian federal election|
|New Democratic||Tim Patterson||3,632||6.48||+2.68||$2,317|
|Canadian Action||James S. Kohut||315||0.56||–||$551|
|Total valid votes||56,032||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||184||0.33||+0.13|
|2000 Canadian federal election|
|Progressive Conservative||Jim Silye||13,259||21.57||+4.15||$26,369|
|New Democratic||Greg Klassen||2,350||3.82||+0.04||$1,540|
|Total valid votes||61,468||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||122||0.20||-0.04|
|1997 Canadian federal election|
|Progressive Conservative||Sergei Scurfield||9,594||17.42||+1.70||$43,365|
|New Democratic||Michael Kozakavich||2,105||3.78||+1.75||$1,506|
|Natural Law||Frank Haika||293||0.47||-0.37||$1,149|
|Total valid votes||52,704||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||128||0.24|
Anders has devoted his time to a variety of conservative causes. 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. 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.
- "Ron Liepert wins Tory nomination in Calgary Signal Hill". CBC News Calgary. April 12, 2014.
- The Canadian Press (September 20, 2014). "Conservative MP Rob Anders loses nomination in Bow River". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Rob Anders, B.A." Parliament of Canada.
- LegisInfo, retrieved March 14, 2014
- Rob Anders, B.A., retrieved March 14, 2014
- "PM blasts MP for blocking Mandela honour". CBC. June 8, 2001.
- "Vote Out Rob Anders!". voteoutanders.com. Archived from the original on June 3, 2004.
- Bennett, Nelson (December 9, 2012). "Calgary MP wants your thoughts on homosexual sex marriage". Richmond News. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Calgary MP compares China to Nazi regime
- "Members quit Anders' riding association". CBC. February 10, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
- "Calgary MP advises soldiers to 'pull trigger'". CBC. June 1, 2010.
- Members of Parliament, Roles, retrieved March 14, 2014
- 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.
- Curry, Bill (September 23, 2011). "CBC funding under microscope in Conservative surveys". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- D'Aliesio, Renata (October 21, 2009). "Wildrose supporters rankle Alberta Tories". Calgary Herald. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Fitzpatrick, Meagan. "Calgary MP Rob Anders booted off veterans committee".
- Rob Anders Joins Criticism Of Tony Clement And Conservatives Over Norman Bethune Centre, by Michael Bolen, at the Huffington Post; published March 28, 2012; retrieved April 13, 2014
- "Outspoken Tory MP Rob Anders apologizes for suggesting Thomas Mulcair hastened Jack Layton’s death". National Post, October 1, 2012.
- "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.
- "Stephen Harper: Quotations by and about Canada's Conservatives". In Their Own Words.
- . CTV News, January 4, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- . CTV News, March 16, 2007. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- . FastForward Weekly, March 26, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- Bill Graveland (Canadian Press) (September 20, 2014). "Rob Anders takes second stab at federal Conservative nomination". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Former Calgary MP Rob Anders campaigned in Arizona for President-elect Donald Trump". Metro International. November 10, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- "Wildrose announces June 6 leadership contest". Calgary Herald. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- "Wildrose introduces Heather Forsyth as interim leader". 660 News All News Radio. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
- "Exclusive: CRA charges former Calgary MP Rob Anders for allegedly committing tax evasion while he was elected". National Post. September 29, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
- Stone, Laura (October 1, 2012). "Lunch with Anders: Speaks from conviction and going nowhere". iPolitics. Retrieved April 13, 2014.