Elections Canada has to review the electoral map every ten years to ensure that federal riding boundaries broadly reflect the distribution of population, but the government in power is required to propose the new ridings. So to be fair, even though the Conservatives have been salivating for the last few years over the thirty or so new ridings that are being created, this is not a strictly partisan initiative of theirs. Population growth has indeed occurred in suburban Vancouver and Ontario, and all over Alberta and Saskatchewan, so the electoral map has to be re-drawn to reflect that. The Conservatives are lucky because these areas where the new seats are being created happen to be the areas where they are strongest. I am sure they will take full credit for the correlation between population growth and their popularity, but sadly not everyone on Earth can live in McMansions and work in resource extraction as is their ardent wish. That being said, the changes have already created the unintended consequence, and welcome development, of destroying the political career of one of the most odious people ever to sit in the house of commons.
It's complicated. A sitting Member of Parliament is still required to be confirmed as the candidate to run for re-election as a member of his or her party by the local riding association of that party. But as the sitting M.P. has the advantage of incumbency, they are rarely disturbed in this process. This is due to the nature of our party leader-centred democracy; if the nominee has the support of the party brass, no one wants to see any messy nomination battles, and these get nipped in the bud when and if they ever occur, which is rarely.
Where it gets interesting is when new ridings get created, like right now. The map is redrawn. A new riding might comprise a large chunk of an M.P's existing territory, but it now contains new territory that previously belonged to another riding, just as it may have lost some territory to a new riding. It no longer suffices for a sitting M.P. to say he is standing for re-election in his riding, because it no longer exists. He must stand for nomination in the brand new riding just like any newcomer, even though he is a sitting M.P.
This brings us to the subject of today's column, Mr. Rob Anders.
Rob Anders has been the most cartoonishly outrageous member of the Conservative government in its nine years in power. He was first elected to the House of Commons at the age of 25 in 1997, representing the Reform party and rounding out the so-called "Snack Pack" with Ezra Levant, Rahim Jaffer, and Jason Kenney. Seventeen years later, while Ezra's an outrageous but rich pundit, and Jason a high-flying minister with leadership aspirations (Rahim flamed out due to a coked-out DUI), Rob has succeeded at collecting an MP's salary for 17 years for occasionally being offensive...and that's basically it.
Mr Anders' illustrious achievements as a legislator include calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist, comparing the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Munich games, and suggesting that Tom Mulcair precipitated the death of Jack Layton, the better to ascend to the NDP leader position. He is an evangelical fundamentalist conservative who has put in time with Focus on the Family and railed against gays and transgendered people, and who once told Canadian soldiers "When in doubt, pull the trigger."
If you haven't caught one of the many moments in the House of Commons where Rob is nodding off with his mouth wide open on CPAC, Canadian Veterans sure did when he nodded off during a Veterans Affairs committee meeting he was supposed to be chairing. When they called him out for his unprofessionalism and disrespect, he replied that they were NDP supporters. Despite his appeal in Calgary West, and his support from Conservative heavyweights like the Prime Minister and Jason Kenney, the local riding association was fed up with him, and attempted to contest his nomination in 2011. He won again, and derided his opponents as "Liberals" and "Feminists" while doing so. The narcoleptic zero earned the right to collect 165k a year of taxpayer money for four more years.
But this time, in 2014, the new riding of Calgary-Signal Hill was refused to Mr. Anders. Former provincial cabinet minister Ron Liepert defeated him for the nomination to run for the Conservatives in next years election. Even Rob himself couldn't stop Calgary from getting overrun by Liberals and Feminists this time.
Undeterred, Rob moved south of Calgary to Chestermere to try and win the nomination in the more sparsely populated, rural new riding of Bow River. He was badly defeated and embarrassed by the locals, who saw and called his parachuting into the riding exactly for what it was.
Now we have a 2014 good news story, that a guy who once headed an organization called Canadians Against Forced Unionism, but who has never himself worked a day in his life, a guy who will enjoy a full pension significantly higher than the median Canadian income just for sitting on his ass at home, will not be coming back to the House of Commons after the next federal election. A guy who railed against unions and insulted the intelligence and good taste of all Canadians for 17 years ends up, like the worst pathetic example of the stereotype he mocked, moving to the next potential food source just to try and scam in some extra years on that generous government teat. Mouthing off, falling asleep, and earning six figures was a pretty good living for seventeen years, but most people figure out at what point it becomes abuse of the public dime and they must be good at something else, anything, right? Not Rob. His lizard brain just told him to move where there are more rednecks.
Good Riddance Rob. Lacking Credentials wishes you the best in your future endeavours.