Rob Anders, Member of Canadian Parliament
1972 - ?
Member of Parliament from 1997 - Present
Rob Anders is the Member of Parliament for the Calgary West riding. He is currently a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Born on April Fool's Day, 1972 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he eventually moved out west, and attended the University of Calgary, receiving a political science degree. Anders is one of the most controversial figures in Canadian politics today, and I would certainly say the most controversial figure in the Conservative Party of Canada. More about that later.
While studying at the University of Calgary, he was an active member of the Reform Party's branch at the University. After graduating, he was director of Canadians Against Forces Unionism, which was a project of the National Citizen's Coalition. He was also a spokesperson for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Speaker's Bureau. He managed to turn his involvement with the Reform Party into a nomination for the riding of Calgary West, during the 1997 Canadian Federal Election. He won that election, at the age of 25, tying as the youngest MP at the time. The average age of MP's at the time was 49, slightly less than twice his own age.
Since then, Anders has been a rather outspoken MP, nearly always advocating an extremely conservative social agenda, one which has at times gotten him into trouble. For example, the time that someone proposed that Nelson Mandela be given honorary Canadian citizenship. Now, this doesn't happen often, in fact it had only happened once before. One reason it doesn't happen is that it requires a unanimous vote in the house of commons, and likely the senate as well. Rob Anders, however, was the only MP to vote against the motion, justifying his actions by claiming that Mandela is a "communist and a terrorist". When Mandela tried phoning Anders to talk things out, Anders refused to even take the call. But, more about any controversy later.
Despite this, Anders was able to win the riding again in the 2000 Federal Election, this time under the banner of the Canadian Alliance Party, which was basically just a new name for the Reform Party. And he won his seat again in the 2004 and 2006 Elections, as a member of the Conservative Party, an entity formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party.
Update: The following paragraph is outdated. As the Conservatives now form the government of Canada, Rob is not the critic of anything. In fact, as far as I can tell, he plays no role whatsoever in the current government other than backbencher.
Anders is currently the backup Defence critic for the Conservative Party. This is not all that much of a prestigious position, especially for a 3rd term MP. Why is this so? Myself, I think that this is an attempt by his party to shut him up. Anytime he opens his mouth, he makes the rest of them look bad. The Conservative Party is trying to move away from the image of a bunch of reactionary, religious fanatics, because that doesn't really garner you any votes outside of Alberta.
As an example of his party trying to shut him up, during the last session of parliament, he was only allowed to speak 9 times, a total of 985 words. This is apparently the least amount of any Member of Parliament. Anyhow, let's move on to...
The new leader has wisely put a tight muzzle on second-term Anders, 30, keeping him far removed from the limelight as backup defence critic. Anders is considered an oddity even among his own MPs, prone to taking hard-right social stands in caucus which his party strives to keep from surfacing in the Commons. His conduct as the lone objector in denying unanimous parliamentary consent to give Nelson Mandela an honorary Canadian citizenship was runner-up in political buffoonery only to his refusal to take the phone when the former South African president called to discuss Anders' concerns.
His upscale west-end constituents call me periodically to lament their embarrassingly unique representation in the capital. With good reason."
"How do our MPs rate?" Don Martin, The Calgary Herald. July 14, 2002. p. A9
If I can say one thing about Anders, it's that he'll stick to his principles. For example, he once blocked the allocation of $500,000 worth of grants to create jobs for students in his riding, because it would create "unfair interference in the free market". Now, I don't know about you, but I'd say that part of an MP's responsibility to represent their constituents includes not preventing them from getting jobs to pay their way through University.
In addition, he also got kicked out of a party thrown by the Chinese Embassy
for wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Free Tibet
Now". Like I said, he sticks to his convictions. Freeing Tibet may be an issue that people mostly associate with the left wing, but let's face it, China's a lot more communist than Nelson Mandela ever was.
Oh, and he does still claim to be a virgin, despite being engaged to a young blonde hottie by the name of Jennifer Bartel. That I just don't get.
Anyways, I really don't like this guy, and unfortunately I lived a good two blocks away from the riding border, so I couldn't vote against him. That having been said, Calgary West is a rather conservative riding, so I doubt that he'll lose any election there as long as he's the Conservative Party candidate. The real fight would be in getting a new nominee for the riding.
Library of Parliament, "Federal Political Experience - ANDERS, ROB," Senators and Members. <www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?lang=E&query=9125&s=M> (December 23, 2004).
Concerned Citizens of Calgary West, "Why Vote Out Anders?" Vote Out Anders! 2004. <www.voteoutanders.com/index2.shtml> (December 23, 2004).
Rob Anders, "Bio," Rob Anders MP for Calgary West. 2004. <www.robanders.com/> (December 23, 2004).
Library of Parliament, "Members of the House of Commons - 1867 to Date - By Parliament," Senators and Members. <www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/mpsparl.asp?lang=E&parl=36> (December 23, 2004).
Official Opposition Press Office, "Rob Anders," Conservative Party of Canada - Parti conservateur du Canada. <www.conservative.ca/media/AB/Anders.htm> (December 23, 2004).