Alberta Politics
MP Rob Anders, loaded for bear but apparently nothing else, with Conservative nomination candidate Melissa Mathieson in 2014 (Photo: Twitter).

Forever chaste? Or just chased? Former Reform MP and Kenney comrade Rob Anders faces new challenges

Posted on September 30, 2020, 1:37 am
6 mins

Rob Anders’ recent trouble with the law reminds us of the former Reform Party and Conservative MP’s past thoughts about the laws of nature.

Twenty-one years ago, Mr. Anders made up half of the party’s much-remarked-upon Parliamentary chastity caucus, of which Jason Kenney was the other half, or the only admitted additional member anyway.

MP Jason Kenney in the 2010 Calgary Stampede Parade (Photo: Jason Kenney/Flickr).

In January 1999, the two Parliamentary bachelors boasted in the Ottawa Citizen about their eccentrically chaste lifestyles — although Mr. Anders did admit in the story that “I’ve gone as far as kissing and kind of ‘massaging,’ if you will, but that’s as far as I’ve gone.”

Mr. Kenney held firm on religious grounds and wouldn’t admit to even that.

But both men, according to the mildly disbelieving tone of Citizen reporter Glen McGregor’s story and others like it, were obviously determined to take the oral out of morality.

Something about this always makes me think of John Keats rhapsodizing odes to Grecian urns.

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

In other words, she’s chastely painted permanently to a spot on a pot and, chased, can never be caught. Capiche?

If one were to ask either of these gentlemen today, What’s a Grecian Urn? … they’d doubtless name a small sum in drachmas and suggest it was a suitable wage for Alberta public employees.

Mr. Anders’ toppler, Ron Liepert, now the MP for Calgary Signal Hill (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Well, more than two decades have passed, and while we may not know how that chastity thing is working out, we do know a lot about what the former Calgary Members of Parliament are getting up to nowadays.

Mr. Kenney, of course, is the premier of Alberta and no more need be said about that just now beyond the fact a large number of Albertans feel they are getting royally … well, never mind that just now.

Things have not been going so well for Mr. Anders, however, a hater of unions (of all kinds, apparently) and vocal opponent of taxes reputed in his electoral heyday to have been Canada’s worst MP. He was the only MP to vote against giving honorary Canadian citizenship to Nelson Mandela. He once accused then NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair of having caused the death of Jack Layton.

John Keats, poet, 1795-1821, as portrayed by William Hinton (Image: National Portrait Gallery, London, Public Domain).

The occasionally sleepy Parliamentarian successfully fought off nomination challenges from the likes of Alison Redford and Donna Kennedy-Glans in his Calgary West riding. But after losing his Parliamentary seat in a riding redistribution, despite endorsements from then PM Stephen Harper and Mr. Kenney, he failed before the 2015 federal election to get the nomination in either of two Calgary area ridings.

In Calgary Signal Hill, the slightly redrawn version of his former riding, Mr. Anders was beaten by former provincial politician Ron Liepert. Mr. Liepert may once have been called the worst health minister in Alberta history, a title he can no longer claim, but he was an old-style Tory who was no fan of Mr. Anders, or of Mr. Kenney for that matter.

Since then, humiliatingly, Mr. Anders has been reduced to occupying himself with such activities as presiding over the Firearms Institute for Rational Education (FIRE, geddit?), campaigning for well-known tax avoider Donald Trump south of the Medicine Line, and renting out his Calgary residence on Airbnb.

Now he has been charged with tax evasion, allegedly committed while he was an MP.

The National Post reported yesterday that Mr. Anders faces five separate charges related to tax evasion, mostly said to have taken place during the years he was an MP. According to the Post’s sources at the Canada Revenue Agency, the accusations are “extremely serious.”

“The CRA has historically gotten convictions in over 90 per cent of similar cases,” the newspaper that back in the day would have lionized Mr. Anders reported gleefully.

While this is interesting, of course, it is important for us to remember that Canada remains a country of the rule of law and citizens who stand accused at bar are innocent until they have been proved guilty.

Mr. Anders is scheduled to have his first day in court in Calgary on Oct. 30.

He will be eligible for his full Parliamentary pension in eight years.

12 Comments to: Forever chaste? Or just chased? Former Reform MP and Kenney comrade Rob Anders faces new challenges

  1. Simon Renouf

    September 30th, 2020

    Could we say that Mr Anders is wanted by the CRA in Calgary, but not much wanted anywhere else?

  2. tom

    September 30th, 2020

    Jason Kenney dancing on You Tube…reminds me of Winnie the Pooh at the Blue Oyster.

      • Caron

        October 1st, 2020

        How pathetic – two overweight white men getting their groove on. If that is what it takes to get elected no wonder we just get bozos in office.

  3. pogo

    September 30th, 2020

    “If one were to ask either of these gentlemen today, What’s a Grecian Urn? … they’d doubtless name a small sum in drachmas and suggest it was a suitable wage for Alberta public employees.” I beg to differ there boss! They are thoroughly and entirely different flavours of excrement! Why one would have TFW peonage slaves depress wages and make unions an impossibility while the other would build a wall and garrison it with Ezra Levant’s yellow vested mailing list!

  4. Abs

    September 30th, 2020

    Early this century, post-Stampede parade BBQ, Jason Kenney swanning about with three blondes on his arms on the roof of the Alberta Hotel. Not sure why. Made himself noticed.

  5. Dave

    September 30th, 2020

    Oh, what a fall it has been for Mr. Anders, who despite his reputation for being a rebel with many dubious causes, seemed at one time to at least be a semi-respectable, although odd or quirky member of the Federal Conservative caucus (even by their standards).

    I believe they initially called Anders and some other young MP’s with high hopes (including Mr. Kenney) the Snack Pack or something like that at one time. One of the other in this juvenile gang was pulled over by police years later and I believe they found cocaine in the car (however charges eventually dropped, so can’t say he was guilty). It seems only Mr. Kenney has manged to stay out of legal trouble so far. I suspect he was the more clever one of that bunch.

    This must also be a tad embarrassing for Mr. Harper who always made such a big deal about his government being relatively scandal free (well if you don’t count that big one involving a well known Conservative Senator getting a housing allowance because of his cottage in PEI and all that followed from that. Not quite sure where he really lived – sound a bit familiar, Mr. Kenney?). Who knew their caucus also harboured a possible tax evader?

    Mr. Anders seems to be one of those people who stumbled on some electoral success early in life (I suppose not to hard to win as a Federal Conservative in that riding), but didn’t seem to have the skill or talent to build much on it. Interestingly, even those that challenged him and lost, like Ms. Redford and Ms. Kennedy Glans, later went on to bigger and better things. Mr. Liepert’s previously bumpy politically career even went better after challenging and defeating Mr. Anders. Mr. Anders now seems to have turned into one of those sad, whatever happened to stories.

  6. anon

    September 30th, 2020

    A 90% conviction rate? Almost as good as the Kremlin elections where 95% of the people vote for the Leader. It might be fair to say that with a 90% conviction rate tax law is simply too complex for mere mortals, much less self proclaimed virgins, to understand.

    • Expat Albertan

      October 1st, 2020

      Depends on the actual number that 90% represents.

  7. Just Me

    September 30th, 2020

    There was one occasion, years ago, when I had the opportunity to meet Rod Anders. I shouldn’t say that is was an encounter that I willfully sought; rather, I was passing along a line of young Reformers and this hand thrust forth and seized mine.

    “Hello. I’m Rod – Rod Anders.!”

    The apparent James Bond-like introduction was without any grace or mystique. It was more like a mugging, actually. It was then that I knew Anders someday would be confirmed as some kind of a weirdo. Judging by the well-known events and the antics that Anders was involved in, not including his kilt-flashing episode when he arrived in Ottawa as a newly-minted MP, confirms my suspicions about his whacked state of mind. What else can one expect from a one-time partisan heckler for the GOP?

    Anders’ legal troubles are just another indication of what a carefree mindset that these male conservatives have. Freedom from taxes, obligations or every description, social justice reform, and the concerns of the loins, these right-wing guys are anarchists, dedicated to the destruction of every institution that serves the common good.

    • Expat Albertan

      October 1st, 2020

      One might even say ‘juvenile mindset’. Peter Pans in Conservative tights.

  8. Anonymous

    October 1st, 2020

    You know what is repulsive? First off, the tax evasion. What is even more insulting is that this former MP (hah!) might just get a slap on the wrist, and collect his political pension, (ironically, a certain amount is tax free). When it’s done, Albertans will have forgotten about it, and move on. The next parts that make this repulsive, is that there are Albertans, in the UCP camp, who believe that people are getting A.I.S.H, when they don’t need it, (and they have no solid proof of that), and they want them punished (how someone can live off of $1600 a month, is beyond me). And then we have UCP MLA, Shane Getson making outlandish claims about CERB recipients, (CERB isn’t much more than what A.I.S.H pays someone). Again, the UCP base thinks the comments were accurate. The issues of tax evasion is something that has to be taken care of. Where is their outrage on this? How Rob Anders continued to be an MP is mystifying.


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