The offending photo of MP Rob Anders and would-be MP Melissa Mathieson, which first turned up on a National Firearms Association Facebook page, then a political blog, then the mainstream media and has now entered the annals of idiocy. Below: the offending target; an example of a target Mr. Anders would have been smarter to pose with; Calgary Signal Hill nomination candidate Ron Liepert; and McLeod nomination candidate John Barlow.

Who squealed on Calgary West Conservative MP Rob Anders when he was playing Charlie’s Angel with a real gun and a candidate seeking a Harper Conservative nomination in a riding south of the former Cowtown?

The evidence suggests it all began as a friendly gesture by the true believers at the National Firearms Association, Canada’s wannabe answer to the National Rifle Association down in the republic to our south, who posted the snapshot of Mr. Anders and Melissa Mathieson on the group’s Facebook page.

After all, like Mr. Anders, the NFA boys were just trying to do a favour for Ms. Mathieson, who is trying to wrest the Tory nomination in the federal riding of Macleod from another Conservative candidate deemed insufficiently pro-pistol by the friends of firepower.

Front runner John Barlow, you see, made the mistake of not hysterically yapping at the RCMP for daring to pick up abandoned weapons from empty houses in High River, in the heart of Macleod, during last June’s floods. This prompted a bizarre brouhaha by members of the black helicopter set, who have all but accused the Mounties of being in cahoots with aliens from Area 52 to seize Albertans’ assault rifles!

Given what appear to be the prevailing sensibilities in Macleod, Mr. Barlow might have done better to demand a judicial inquiry in shocked tones.

Still, whatever the intention of the picture’s original posters, it has certainly suddenly swung quickly around to bite Mr. Anders on his ample keester. A week, as they say, is a long time in politics.

Mr. Anders, alert readers will recall, is at once Canada’s Worst MP ™ and Canada’s Most Embarrassing Legislator ™ – the Parliamentarian best known for falling asleep on the job while CPAC’s cameras rolled and for calling the late Nelson Mandela a terrorist while voting against honorary Canadian citizenship for the South African hero.

Not coincidentally, Mr. Anders is facing the most serious challenge in his deplorable 17-year political career in the person of Ron Liepert, a former provincial Progressive Conservative cabinet minister who with Calgary West slated to be redistributed into oblivion is also seeking the Tory nomination in the same new riding.

But it wasn’t Mr. Anders’ butchy pose in a 4.5-litre hat with what appears to be like a .44 calibre revolver, back to back with Ms. Mathieson, who seems to be holding a shotgun, that caused the stuff to hit the fan. That kind of thing is pretty well de rigeur in certain political circles in Calgary.

Rather it was one of the targets in the background, a poor quality drawing of a bearded man in a turban – in other words, the kind of crude racist taunt that holds an entire identifiable group of human beings up to hatred, contempt and violence.

The NFA types and other “gunnutz,” as they style themselves, were quick to race to the comments sections of local online news sources to denounce this complaint as the snivelling of liberals and other would-be gun grabbers. What’s the big deal, they whined. It’s supposed to be Osama bin Laden… It’s supposed to be a zombie… They’re the cheapest targets around… Yadda-yadda.

Apparently it didn’t occur to any of them that they might not be doing Mr. Anders any favours in his fight to get the nomination in the new riding called Calgary Signal Hill that includes not only a couple of large evangelical churches and a Bible college, but a substantial mosque and a diverse and educated populace.

In other words, while it may be a pretty conservative slice of real estate by Canadian standards, it’s inside the borders of a city that elected and reelected a Muslim mayor, has plenty of voters who don’t see gun ownership as the be-all and end-all of mature masculinity and might even find being represented by someone as insensitive as Mr. Anders a trifle embarrassing.

Certainly leaders of the Calgary Muslim community didn’t see things quite the same way as Mr. Anders’ most loyal and best-armed pals.

Souheil Merhi, chairman of the Muslim Council of Calgary, was quoted nationally saying the photo promoted hatred by portraying Muslims as terrorists and “people who should be shot or belittled.” This, unsurprisingly, prompted a stream of vituperation bordering on outright hatred in the comments section of the NFA’s Facebook page.

Mind you, it’s not astonishing that the gunnutz – a pretty insular set, by all accounts – didn’t get it, but it is a mild surprise that Mr. Anders didn’t look around when he showed up at the shooting range and twig to the potential negative impact of the image on his prospects.

After all, while he’s widely thought to be as dumb as a second coat of paint, he obviously has a certain kind of low political cunning that has served him well with the undemanding voters of his former riding, which disappears in the latest redistribution, and he really should have seen this coming.

Given the provenance of the picture’s appearance online, readers, even those who self-identify as gunnutz, can forget the theory that the appearance of the suddenly controversial photo on an Edmonton political blogger’s site, whence it found its way into the mainstream media, was part of a sinister plot associated with Mr. Liepert and his imaginary Liberal and New Democratic allies.

Still, Mr. Liepert is not exactly a political virgin, so you can hardly blame him and his supporters if they take advantage of a gift so kindly offered to them on a platter by Mr. Anders and his hapless allies in the firearms fringe who forgot that Calgary Signal Hill is not Macleod before taking careful aim at their favourite MP’s feet.

This post also appears on

Join the Conversation


  1. Hope you don’t mind but I plan on stealing your “Dumber than a bag of Anders” line. It’s just too perfect not to use on some troll

  2. Maybe we should be taking the “glass half full” view here.

    There was a time, in Alberta’s not too distant past, when targets like these were adorned with the portrait of Pierre Elliot T. Now you can walk down any street wearing a “I Love Justin” pin on your sweater and you will not be subjected to ridicule or other forms of derision. Somebody will not walk up to you and punch you in the mouth.

    We’ve come a long way.

  3. Now you’ve done it. I’ve got the theme song from “Deliverance” going through my head again.

    The last time was when Candice Hoeppner/Bergen, then a back bencher, introduced her motley crew of LAGO’s to back up the scrapping of the gun registry. I’ve had trouble finding that picture. Must be those short-pantsed internet scrubbers at work again. For that particular coup, she was made the Minister of State for Social Development in a cabinet shuffle. I guess nobody saw the irony in that.

    A picture accompanying a story from the CBC about the destruction of this significant step forward in social development has another august company assembled to announce this incredibly stupid move to the world : Candice Hoeppner (as she was then, now Candice Bergen), then a back bencher, now the minister of state for Social Development, Pierre Poilievre, now the Minister of State for Democratic Reform (diito on the irony), Maxime Bernier, who had more than a passing acquaintance with associates of gun culture from a slightly different perspective and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (there’s that irony again) before he was defrocked, debriefed or decided to resign or whatever…

  4. David, the photo of these two lovebirds and their thundersticks has got my latent gun loving self all in a tizzy. The sight of the photogenic Billy the Kid and his gal Annie Oakley has forced me, Svengali like, to download two bad guy wastin’ video games–“Open Carry” and “Blast Em”. Fire away!

  5. Remember the 2000 Canadian Alliance leadership race? The TV news had some piece about guns, maybe the long gun registry or something, then the very next piece showed leadership candidate Tom Long aiming a gun at some shooting range.

    But he landed on his feet and is now a director at the Manning Centre:

  6. This is quite possibly the most ridiculous article I have ever read. Everyone here is dumber for having read it. Thank you very much.

  7. Thanks Calgary for voting out the one guy that cared about my human rights. I’m so upset with you right now. Calgary is turning into Vancouver, a have-not City.

  8. Is this really required?

    The targets are zombies…should white guys be offended that there is a also a “white guy zombie” target? No. Your scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to CREATE drama. Grow up.

    They are being safe, having A LOT of fun and doing so in a legal manner . Don’t like guns? Don’t shoot them. These people are not the ones shooting up Toronto…those are GANG members using illegal guns and willing to murder someone over turf or a bag of weed, if your ready to do that…there is no “fixing” you and adding more “laws” is not gonna make them stop.

    Gun owners are some of the safest and most law abiding folks around…HAVE to be in order to own guns and they are scrutinized for everything. Hell you cannot joking say “I hate (insert least favorite sports team there)” without someone jumping to the conclusion you want to actually KILL them because you own guns. Or have you daughter draw a picture of you “killing monsters” without illegally being stripped searched and your child taken away all because she drew a *gasp* gun!

    Guns kill…when the wrong people use them. No stopping that as they will never give up their guns because the law says so, that is WHY they are criminals!

    Besides…knives and blunt objects kill more people then guns do in this country.

    Pools/swimming kills 100s a year! even children! Ban pools!
    Smoking and drinking kill 10,000s of people a year! Ban them!
    hell doctors kill more people will malpractice then guns do in this country!

  9. “and for calling the late Nelson Mandela a terrorist while voting against honorary Canadian citizenship for the South African hero.” you might want to visit your buddy history teacher in that high school of yours and ask about things like all the bombings he ordered. he was arrested for having bomb supplies in his vehicle. he would have walked free if he renounced violence (pretty sensible thing to do, you being a hippie socialist pinko must agree on that, no?)… he didnt. as the president he spent a shit load of cash on buying arms to ensure his regime would not be challenged.

    but dont let facts get in the way of your rhetoric. i dont execpt anyone posting anything on rabble to do something as basic as background checks and research before mouthing off.

  10. Why is it ill-advised for an Alberta political leader to pose with a target depicting someone who orchestrated the murder of 24 Canadians (including a former player for the Edmonton Oilers) on September 11th 2001? Has the author of this piece become so divorced from any sense of moral courage that a sworn enemy of this country, a murderer of innocent Canadians and a professed wanna-be dictator is no longer an acceptable target? Is he intent on sending the message to hostile foreign powers that Canadian civilians can be murdered in large numbers without any attempt at retaliation?

  11. One reply for all the boys of April 14. Hey, you’ve won me over. I’m gunning up big time myself. Turns out I’m still a pretty good shot. Meanwhile, a couple of hints about this here “socialist media” thing. No one reads your replies except me if it takes you two months to make your way through a post. You need to get right in there as soon as a post appears to really piss anyone off. Try the RSS feed. Oh, and sorry about your Rob Anders.

    1. Geez, Dave. You waited until now to load up? It’s thanks to weak-kneed, snivelling, socialist pansies like you that the terrorists are winning.

      And I’m next in line after Kev for stealing the “dumber than a sack of Anders” line. Pure gold.

  12. Most spun article I’ve read in 2014.
    Forget Rob Anders, his shaky platform, and any other legitimate points.
    Let’s bash this guy AND raise hysteria about firearms in one fell, uninformed, condescending swoop.

    Oh and:
    The incident in high river was probably one of the most unfree thing the RCMP have done since seizing that nutcase’s computer for slandering their force, or arresting “communists” and union folks in the depression.

  13. “Souheil Merhi, chairman of the Muslim Council of Calgary, was quoted nationally saying the photo promoted hatred by portraying Muslims as terrorists and “people who should be shot or belittled.”

    Why on earth would that be? Bin Lauden was a mass murderer. I’m sure Germans would not be offended if we fired at pictures of Hitler. So why are Muslims offended at that target? Makes one think.

    Oh, and David, no one in Canada owns assault rifles. They are banned in Canada. The vast majority of the firearms seized by the RCMP, days after the flood was over, were just bolt action hunting rifles. The RCMP revisited homes for the ONLY purpose to confiscate firearms, most of which were LOCKED UP. The cops had to break in to those cupboards.

  14. I am neither a Rob Anders supporter nor apologist and could care less about any re-election bid he may have had.
    I think what is really amazing about this story is there is no story. But somehow you got me and a lot of other people to read it and put eyes on your website.
    Those targets have been available for a long time now.
    Where was the public outcry when they first came out?
    I guess if you shout “Fire” in a crowded theater it will get people’s attention. It’s not really journalism though. Good luck to you if you decide to become a real reporter.

    1. Dylin Myteo apparently aims to hurt my feelings by stating I am not a real reporter and my blog posts are not journalism. Alas for her or him, I heartily agree with this assessment, and thank goodness for it. I worked in the trenches of journalism for 30 years and I am done with that. This is a political blog that expresses the author’s personal political opinions and nothing more.

      I stand by the thesis, nevertheless, that the support of firearms enthusiasts did not help Mr. Anders chances, and indeed likely harmed him considerably. The gun lobby has been operating successfully on the fringes of the Conservative party for a time now, and has been an effective source of financial support for the Conservatives, as is their right. But their views are not mainstream views and Canadian political culture in not U.S. political culture, and as their profile has increased the damage they do to the politicians they support is increasing as well. This is also as it should be in a democracy. My years working for such newspapers as the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald tell me this is “a story,” although Mr./Ms. Myteo is certainly entitled to disagree.

  15. You are sheep…what liberal is paying you? You are so misinformed its amazing…you and your sheep family will be the first ones in the F.E.M.A camps. Maybe when you see what the real goals of this dictatorship are your head will come out of your ass. People like you see things this way and are soooo bold about your opinion about things that you have no idea what your actually talking about because your to scared to accept the reality of the world we live in….

  16. So would shooting at the Caucasian zombie on the right promote racism or hatred towards white people? Its simpletons like you who have turned this country into an embarrassment. You don’t agree with his views that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens is a good thing, so you come up with whatever dribble you can find to try to turn it into some huge negative drama. Grow up and get a life David, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  17. You know, the Canadian Forces use a target that has effectively remained unchanged since the days of trench warfare. Know what we call it? Herman the German. It’s not politically incorrect unless we’re poking fun at non-white folk though. Maybe until the day comes where target companies produce A-bad the A-rab targets, you and the Arab 9/11 deniers (it was the Mossad! An inside job! Anyone but the innocent Muslims!) can piss and moan about racism. But for zombie Osama? Give me a break.

    David, this is an extremely superfluous analysis of something relatively straightforward – Anders losing a nomination riding to a candidate with better organization and will and without controversial baggage – baggage completely unrelated to a supposedly racist target. I have seen no evidence of an attempt to sign up Muslims en-masse to help un-seat Anders and no one else except truly self-hating, snivelling and “progressive” white liberals that would be offended at a zombie Osama target. This was a long time coming and I see no evidence of any Muslim backlash other than a few media comments after this photo was posted.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.