When Calgary Signal Hill Conservative MP Ron Liepert announced on social media on Feb. 17 that he is about to retire, no one seems to have thought to thank the man for his greatest service to Canada.

Rob Anders when he was “Canada’s Worst MP,” in a typical pose (Photo: Facebook).

He was, after all, the politician who handed Rob Anders, the worst Member of Parliament in modern Canadian history, his great big hat. 

For that alone, Mr. Liepert deserves the undying gratitude of Canadians of all political stripes and our best wishes for a long and happy retirement, much of which will presumably be spent in Palm Springs. 

“I want to thank my constituents for the trust they have placed in me as their Member of Parliament since 2015,” Mr. Liepert said in a news release also published on his Facebook page. He said he’d serve up until the next federal election.

Beyond that, the 73-year-old former broadcaster, who was a vice-president of the Alberta Legislature Press Gallery in 1977 and worked as premier Peter Lougheed’s Press Secretary from 1980 to 1995, didn’t have much very interesting to say beyond paying ritual obeisance to Conservative Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre.

It would be easy to forget, then, that before he quietly put in enough time in the House of Commons to qualify for a nice Parliamentary pension, Mr. Liepert was a high-profile and often controversial figure during his seven and a half years as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Calgary-West. 

The late Gene Zwozdesky, who could be depended upon to clean up other ministers’ messes (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Mr. Liepert was appointed to three important cabinet posts by premier Ed Stelmach – education, health, and energy, arguably stirring up more trouble and strife than was really helpful in the first two portfolios. 

Leastways, after Mr. Liepert’s rocky terms as minister of education and minister of “health and wellness,” Mr. Stelmach had to send in cabinet’s old smoothy, the late Gene Zwozdesky, to pour oil on the troubled waters and smooth the feathers ruffled by the previous minister’s bulldog temperament.

It was on Mr. Liepert’s watch that nine health regions were dismantled and Alberta Health Services was created. And he was on the job as health minister during the swine flu pandemic in 2009 when members of the Calgary Flames and their families managed to jump the line for vaccinations. An AHS official was thrown under the bus for that. 

As for Mr. Liepert’s contributions as an MP, the most exciting moment was probably his mid-pandemic trip to Palm Springs (near Los Angeles, where he worked as Alberta’s trade envoy from 1986 to 1991) which hardly made him unique among Conservative Alberta politicians. 

But a multitude of sins can be forgiven for eliminating Mr. Anders as a national embarrassment on April 12, 2014.

Mr. Anders, elected six times over 17 years for the Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative parties by the inattentive voters of the federal Calgary West riding, richly deserved the sobriquet “Canada’s Worst MP.”

Alison Redford, later Alberta’s premier, who tried and failed to knock off Rob Anders in a federal nomination vote (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Born appropriately enough on April Fool’s Day 1972, Mr. Anders was notorious for such antics as falling asleep on camera in the House of Commons and during Parliamentary committee meetings, suggesting NDP leader Thomas Mulcair caused the death of his predecessor Jack Layton, striking butchy poses with his latest firearms, and perhaps most offensively, being the sole MP to vote against honorary citizenship for Nelson Mandela after calling the South African hero a “terrorist.”

In his youth, Mr. Anders was a professional heckler for Republican politicians in the United States. And as recently as 2016 he was reported campaigning in Arizona for Donald Trump. 

Despite his often bizarre behaviour, Mr. Anders was a formidable campaigner, as his serial electoral victories in Calgary illustrated. During those years he defeated several high-profile challengers for the Conservative Calgary West nomination – among them, Alison Redford, who would later become Alberta’s first woman premier, and future PC cabinet minister Donna Kennedy-Glans.

Premier Ed Stelmach, who gave Mr. Liepert his cabinet posts (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

When Calgary West was eliminated in the 2014 federal redistribution, Mr. Anders was forced to seek the nomination in Calgary-Signal Hill, which included much of the same territory. By then, even Stephen Harper seemed to have realized he had become a potentially dangerous embarrassment.

When Mr. Liepert won the nomination, that was the beginning of the end of Mr. Anders’ political career. He tried again to get the nomination in another Calgary riding in the fall of 2014, but by then his remaining appeal (and high-level support) had evaporated. 

His loss to Parliament was mourned by journalists and political commentators, who never tired of his serial idiocies, Liberal and New Democrat politicians for whom he was a useful foil, and the country’s most extreme gun nuts and social conservatives, whose causes he championed. 

Thankfully, Mr. Anders not been much heard from since his departure from federal politics. A brush with the law in 2020 came to nothing. He is now the president of something called the Firearms Institute for Rational Education – FIRE! Geddit? 

So, Ron Liepert, have a long and happy retirement. Canadians thank you for your service!

NOTE: This post has been updated with files from Dave Cournoyer.

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  1. Speaking of being thanked for their service….Dani on Twitter
    “”Ralph Klein was a great Albertan
    By following the path of great fiscal responsibility ,he left behind a legacy of growth and prosperity for all of us. The Alberta Advantage lives on……
    Canadian Taxpayers Federation “”

    And going by the responses, rose colored glasses, ( though I know first hand ,that along with his sidekick love it was champagne) so these ‘young’uns’ don’t know his history, don’t care, or believe what their parents told them, because ” he was the best mayor/premier ever— or it’s all bots, hard to tell these days .
    Either way, another invocation, cleared of any wrongdoing due to passage of time, shiny bright things, and a incredible unexplained excess of squirrels..which under natural circumstances would only be possible by an excess of squirrel food…..how perplexing.

    And speaking of, as forecast, the tree replanting has” grown” up
    some interesting species
    1. Bcup – (?)
    2. ucp -tamara
    3. sup -colin
    which imho, make les bloc seem tame in comparison.

    And as for Mr Liepert *another curious ‘coincidence’–
    the date of his announcement of retirement was the day Calgary was honored with the presence of PP and Christine Anderson, oh to be the fly on the wall of that bar at the Petroleum club…..the problem with getting old, every one I knew has retired, and politicians from that era are really thanking their lucky stars that we didn’t have cell phones back then….not that it’s slowing them down now, they’re just being totally brazen nowadays, aka cooper’s landlord & landlady ,who is always going on about the triple triple, which is exactly what he is doing on the taxpayers dimes/10% indeed.

    1. Randi-lee It was Ed Stelmach who told us that while Klein was paying off the $23 billion debt he inherited from Getty he created a far worse mess , a $42 billion infrastructure deficit. It was obvious that Stelmach was right with roads filled with potholes, a huge shortage of schools , and the orphan well cleanup mess, that has now ballooned to what it is today.

    1. Randi-lee, your question implies something I have wondered about. After really annoying the residents of central Ottawa with his pandering to the convoy occupiers, how safe is PP’s Ottawa-area seat? Perhaps he should come back to Calgary.

  2. I think that Rob Anders and Ron Liepert were both a big joke. Quite frankly, I won’t miss either of them in politics. How Rob Anders remained elected for as long as he has, proves how blind voters are in Alberta. Same thing for Ron Liepert. He was horrible as an Alberta PC, and as a federal CPC MP, he was no better.

    1. I have a theory that Albertans have been so used to playing the opposition “outsiders” (Harper’s stint notwithstanding) and being told we need to revile the Feds since PET’s NEP, that there is a bit of schadenfreude at play in sending the biggest a** to Ottawa to stir stuff up. Not productive, but maybe cathartic?

  3. Imagine the fun of vandalizing public resources you are charged with protecting and then being given a pension for life for doing so by the same rubes you have fleeced. Suckers, as they say, are born every minute and most of them reside in Alberta. A place where the elections are always free and fair and produce the same result for decades.

  4. Yes, Mr Liebert deserves our thanks and appreciation for being the one to finally take action to rid us of the terrible MP Anders, who seemed so entrenched.

    Who would have thought, given his own turbulent time in Alberta politics, Liepert would outlast most of his PC colleagues and go on to another chapter of his political career in such a way? Of course, I suspect Liepert was not one to suffer fools so that may have been part of the motivation to be the one to effectively take on Anders. It may have also helped that he came from the outside of the party as the PCs were related, but not that closely to their reform rooted Federal collegues.

    Anders was a prime Canadian example, but he is not the only bad politician who stayed around too long, either because those in his own party tolerate him or are unable to rid him. I suppose it is not surprising if after his ouster, Anders did go on to campaign in the US for Trump.

    In any event, Mr Liepart can enjoy his retirement knowing he did such service for us.

  5. Who can forget the time Ron Liepert told Jason Kenney to PFO in no uncertain terms:

    “Quite frankly I think Minister Kenney should mind his own business. He should go into his own riding and try and get re-elected in his own riding and quit monkeying around at other nominations…anywhere in this province,” said Liepert, who made it abundantly clear that he was angry at the interference.

    “You’re damn right I am. Why? Because it’s none of his business.”

    He added that he wasn’t worried about any repercussions for his criticism of Kenney.

    “I don’t care. It might and I’m quite prepared to deal with it if it does,” he said.


    Those were the days! Sadly, a province did forget, and we’re still paying the price for that lack of brain cells to rub together.

    Misogynists/incels of a feather flock together. Good riddance, Rob Anders. Good riddance, Jason Kenney. May you stay in your happy place, far from politics and the Canadian public, preferably on an ice floe in Hudson Bay.

  6. Why is it these unruly, over the top self-proclaimed populist politicians come from the right side of the political spectrum? For instance, I could never imagine a member of the current cast of buttoned down NDPers doing what Svend Robinson did when Ronald Reagan addressed the House of Commons back in the 1980s: he heckled him. A great moment.

    1. Because our media – our entire society – is owned by capitalists, so they get to say who gets to be on TV. To be a leftist is to oppose capitalism, therefore, capitalists will always be incentivized to suppress your speech. The people who think Biden and Trudeau are leftists don’t have the faintest idea of how broad the political spectrum really is.

      If an actual “unruly, over the top” leftist were to speak you would probably hear about things like having a violent revolution to seize the means of production, or that if you beat billionaires like pinatas money comes out, or that when our turn comes we will not apologize for the terror, or that when faced with the necessity to prevent the extinction of our species, all actions are not only morally justified, but morally required, or What Would Gritty Do?, etc etc etc. Needless to say, the people who own everything don’t want to use the things they own to encourage us to use violence to redistribute their wealth and/or hold them accountable for their actions, so people who would advocate for those things rarely get anywhere near a camera.

      Anyways, right wingers of all kinds get to be on TV, because they all support capitalism, therefore, are not a threat to the interests of the people who own everything. Airtime and attention are not given based on good behaviour, good ideas, or good intent, but on usefulness and profitability to the owning class.

      1. Hey man I get it. Back in my younger days I once stood in a plaza with 50,000 other people listening to a speech by Fidel Castro so I’m coming from a leftist perspective.

  7. “Born appropriately enough on April Fool’s Day” You know who else shares April fools day birthday, Danielle Smith. You would be a fool to vote for a politician born on April fool’s day.

  8. Ron Liepert, we hardly knew Ye, which isn’t such a bad thing after all.

    Considering at the time of fall of Erin O’Toole, when it looked like that all that was left for the rebel CONs to do was turn the knife in O’Toole’s back, Liepart was running up the stairs to his office, when a reporter asked him if O’Toole was about to lose his leadership, Liepert replied, in a huff, that it was “Scheer’s people” who were to blame. It was clear that Liepert had enough and was headed for the exit.

    Since Rod Anders hasn’t had much in the way of normal employment lately (or ever) I expect him to make a return to federal politics shortly, now that there’s a riding open.

  9. My biggest problem is the fact that I was a Royal bank manager for 22 years , managing 7 branches, and not dumb enough to believe all the lies these phoney conservatives have been feeding us, yet fools like Smith still sing Klein’s praises. I have known far too many business men and former MLAs who agreed with me and still do. He gave us the highest power bills in Canada, the highest property taxes, the highest vehicle registration fees, the highest school fees, the highest day care fees, the highest driver licensing fees, the highest vehicle insurance premiums, the highest long term health care fees, highest liquor prices, helped the packing plants screw beef producers out of $450 million, gave us the highest percentage , per capita, of people needing help from food banks, helped the rich steal hundreds of billions of dollars in royalties and corporate taxes and dumped a massive $260 billion orphan well cleanup mess in our laps and yet he is a hero. And who are the fools believing it, rural Albertans and our fellow seniors of course? Where is the intelligence in that? What have I missed? Feel free to add more if I have.

  10. Two losers …. Rob Anders and Ron Liepert … both at the trough and totally sucked in by Conservative voters. What a great life they have had at our expense. What is it that you refuse to see in these losers and kept them in political positions paying their salaries for doing nothing to help Albertans or Canadians? It’s called partisan politics and the inability to see what’s best for all. Their positive contributions are nil, their negative contributions are multi. Disgusting. But we live in a democracy and morons are easily fooled.

  11. Among our current crop of MPs, I think Michael Cooper and Garrett Genuis could give Rob Anders a run for his money for the dubious honour of being Canada’s worst MP. There must be something in the water or the culture of Alberta that causes us to send many of the most undeserving people to parliament.

    It certainly doesn’t help that many AB voters are such credulous victims of right-propaganda that they would vote for a dead goat as long as it is running as a CON.

    1. Phlogiston: Perhaps because I have met both Mr. Cooper and Mr. Genuis and have seen their human side, and never met Mr. Anders and therefore never got to see his, I am biased against him. Still, objectively speaking, I think he is worse that the other two. That said, he’s no longer an MP and so there is a contest for who should now be considered CWMP. Messrs. Cooper and Genuis certainly deserve to be on the short list. I imagine there are several others in the running who haven’t come to our attention in Alberta. DJC

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