Sunday, February 07, 2010

Rob Anders: "Democracy is Petty"

Yeah, party members wanting open nominations. How petty of them.

The tumultuous history of the federal Conservative riding association in Calgary West continued this week with the Tory party's national council apparently assuming control of the association board.

Most members of the Conservative riding board support Donna Kennedy-Glans, who wishes to challenge controversial incumbent MP Rob Anders in a nomination race. Riding association members were to be asked by the board this spring whether they wanted to attempt to hold another nomination race.

"When you have some people that are focused on what are fairly minuscule, petty issues to the distraction of that overall effort -- they're doing it to cause disruption to the party as a whole, for the council, for the member of Parliament," Anders said Friday evening.

"You have to put that stuff to rest and move on."



  • Rob, look in the mirror.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:24 p.m.  

  • Rob Anders was my MP when I still lived in Calgary. I still remember a presentation he gave to my high school class where he tried to tell us that oil might be a renewable resource and the death penalty is something we, as a country, should reconsider.

    The disdain that Anders shows for his constituents is consistently appalling; probably as bad as his proven disdain for democracy. I can only hope that Donna Kennedy-Glans is successful in kicking him out of his unearned seat. She's a Conservative that I greatly respect - and I say that as someone whose been volunteering on NDP campaigns since before I could vote.

    By Anonymous C2O, at 2:30 p.m.  

  • Do you think it's recordings or pictures that Anders holds over Harper's head?

    They were both at the U of Calgary at the same time weren't they? Maybe Anders did Harper's homework or exams. That could explain a lot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:41 p.m.  

  • Rob Anders was part of a small group of folks that encouraged socially inept Steve to ask out Laureen (separated and not yet divorced from her husband) out for a date. I think that would be enough reason for Steve to protect Ander's position as the Conservative nominee.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 p.m.  

  • Interesting.... there does seem to be some deep and personal affinity between the two of them.

    By Anonymous Jason Bo Green, at 5:23 p.m.  

  • I'm not aware of any parties that are in a position to throw stones on this front.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 7:46 p.m.  

  • I have my doubts that the constituency there will vote for any of the other major parties, so I'm thinking the only way they can oust Anders is by running an "independent" candidate there and hoping the rest of the riding agrees with them on Anders.

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 8:04 p.m.  

  • Do you think it's recordings or pictures that Anders holds over Harper's head?

    Maybe a little from both columns.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 p.m.  

  • Do you think it's recordings or pictures that Anders holds over Harper's head?

    Anything is possible, but I think Harper is trying to head off the development of a federal Wild Rose Alliance -- at any cost.

    By Blogger Greg, at 6:54 a.m.  

  • The question should be - what hold does Anders have on Harper?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:21 a.m.  

  • I'm not sure I buy the "Laureen Harper" theory. The two met in 1990 when Rob Anders would have been 18 (and Harper 31) and presumably just starting out at University of Calgary.

    I also think Rob Anders has the most appropriate birthday on the planet.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 1:00 p.m.  

  • After the Liberals had a nation-wide, one member one vote event to select their current federal leader, they certainly have the moral high road in mocking Anders. What? Liberals were denied any say in who the party leader should be? They don't want to be bothered with the petty democracy stuff? Oh,never mind.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 1:40 p.m.  

  • Anders is a clown. The reform politicans talk about grassroots being important but that is clearly just pablum for their supporters. Harper and Anders have never behaved as if deomcracy was important. They see it is an impediment to getting what they want.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:33 p.m.  

  • Unrealistic, unfortunately, as the authors' thrust is, I wondered about your opinion of the following quoted passage.

    "One possible suggestion would be for the three parties in question to focus on 60-80 seats where a three-way split in opposition party votes has allowed the Conservatives to win ridings with fewer than 35 percent of the votes, or come within striking distance of defeating current Liberal or NDP sitting members."

    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 8:51 p.m.  

  • nuna: they certainly have the moral high road in mocking Anders.

    I think the mocking began a way back when by Con voters who had the "don't vote Anders" campaign during elections, complete with signs, websites and pamphlets.

    As a former Calgary West constituent I can say "Where's Rob?"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:23 p.m.  

  • Gauntlet - Valid point, although the NDP does allow open noms I think (as they should).

    I just can't see any other party going to these lengths to protect such an inadequate candidate.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:47 p.m.  

  • Anon 4:16 - Yeah, I've heard Laureen is close to Anders.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:48 p.m.  

  • I don't make a habit of defending Anders, but there was a vote among party members last year asking if they wanted a riding nomination...

    Anders won that vote. Granted, the voting process strongly favours the incumbent, but the vote did take place and he did win it.

    Moreover, Anders is as grass roots as it gets. He gets right in there with his supporters and really promotes the sorts of things that they care about most. You have to understand the politics of Calgary west specifically to really understand Anders; there is a large segment of Calgary West who like this guy.

    Those people tend to live in Montgomery and Bowness, but he also garners significant support from the more southern communities of Westbrook, Strathcona and Westsprings. He tailors his message specifically to each of these communities by focusing on justice, guns rights, and taxes, among other hot button conservative issues. He drives a massive wedge between his supporters and the opposition, and creates the kind of loyal support that has people turning out election after election.

    He certainly is divisive, but in our current electoral system, that divisiveness also creates loyalty and loyalty in turn brings out the votes.

    I often wonder if we could avoid this sort of targeted pandering if we had a system of mandatory voting. I have worked on various campaigns both federally and provincially, and have been consistently disappointed by the focus on "locating support", and doing everything necessary to have that support come to the polls on election day. I want to work on campaigns that are about ideas, and there are no campaigns in today's political culture that actually attempt to converse with the public. Campaigns send volunteers into communities polling for voter intentions, instructed not to strike up debate with the public. Instead, volunteers are instructed to mark down the houses that are friendly to the campaign, houses which are then called for contributions, and called on voting day reminding them to vote.

    I think that if everyone had to vote anyway, the focus of the campaign would shift from getting voters to the polls to changing minds. The divisive and targeted pandering of Rob Anders would fail precisely because of his abrasive approach. Sure he would still create strong loyalty among his supporters, but the greatest strength of this loyalty (the fact that a loyal base shows up on election day) is nullified when everyone has to vote anyway.

    I understand concerns with uneducated voting, but I think the potential advantage gained when campaigns are forced to talk about ideas rather than driving people to the polls will outweigh the potential shortcomings.

    To conclude, I think Rob Anders is a creature of the democratic system in use today; he does not abuse democracy as such, he simply leverages all the advantages that the current system affords. We can get rid of Anders, but another like him would soon take his place; until we remove the systemic conditions that reward divisive politics, the Rob's of the world will continue to thrive in the Canadian political arena.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:19 a.m.  

  • I think there is a case to be made for avoiding nomination contests for incumbents. Nomination voters are often not reflective of the riding as a whole. For instance Chuck Cadman lost his nomination to a guy who ended up winning like 12.6% of the vote.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 6:38 a.m.  

  • If there were no Rob Anders, we'd have to invent him.

    By Anonymous ace, at 11:45 a.m.  

  • one of the truest signs of something being wrong is when the 'don't throw stones' defence is put into play.

    If something is wrong, it is wrong. Anyone and everyone can comment. And in this case the whole 'stones' argument is even more problematic, since those offering it are defending a failure in democracy by telling people they aren't allowed to speak.

    By Anonymous Luke, at 12:02 p.m.  

  • The Conservative party of Canada National Council has become simply an organization that does what Harper wants. This began when Harper became the leader of the Canadian Alliance and purged any National Council members who were not supportive of his agenda at the time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:16 p.m.  

  • What I imagine will happen is the same thing that has happened several times in the past. The riding association will run the campaign of DKG as an independent.

    She'll win. Perhaps she'll join the Conservative caucus afterwards, perhaps not.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 12:05 a.m.  

  • To Anonymous at 3:19AM

    Sir, you are far from correct regarding a nomination vote won by Anders in 2009. There was NOT a nomination vote at all. The National Council sent every Conservative member in ridings with a sitting Conservative MP a ballot. The ballot was to be returned to them noted either that you wanted a nomination or you didn't. Two thirds of the total membership in the riding--not just those that voted--needed to vote affirmatively to trigger a nomination race. That ballot was sent to members coincident with the new and pro democracy (not necessarily anti-Anders) Calgary West Board being elected. The National Council, in its conspiring ways, denied the new Board access to the membership lists so that the membership could be encouraged to timely return those ballots, marked whatever way the individual member wished. At least had that happened, Anders could cling to some legitimacy. As it is now, he remains protected by a Conservative National Council that has deprived their members living in Calgary West of an open, honest nomination race, something that has not occurred for over a decade. And this, in the very riding where the Prime Minister himself resides. Shameful!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:15 p.m.  

  • Just wanted to reply to the above poster.

    You said, "There was NOT a nomination vote at all."

    I said, "there was a vote among party members last year asking if they wanted a riding nomination..."

    You said, "The National Council sent every Conservative member in ridings with a sitting Conservative MP a ballot. The ballot was to be returned to them noted either that you wanted a nomination or you didn't."

    Which is exactly what I said, they held a vote asking if the members wanted a nomination or not. Anders won that vote in calgary west.

    I then go on to mention that the vote itself favors the incumbent by a wide margin, but even with the advantages afforded by the party regulations, I noted that Anders still needs some amount of support in order to maintain his position.

    I talk about the communities that DO support Anders, I talk about his method, and I talk about the problems with our democratic system that allow an animal like Anders the luxury of serving in politics.

    I invite you to pull your head out of your ass and try responding when you have actually given my post a read. I know what I am saying, and I am far from "far from correct."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:39 p.m.  

  • I have to say that as someone who lives in the community of Montgomery I and several of the people that I know in this neighborhood, do not support Mr. Anders.
    What you say about the vote being held is right but what is being stated in the previous post is correct as well.
    The blue machine which protects Rob has consistently screwed the members of Calgary West out of their right to a democratic process.

    By Blogger Momof3, at 7:37 p.m.  

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