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Ron Liepert defeats MP Rob Anders in Calgary Tory nomination battle

Ron Liepert reacts after defeating Rob Anders during the Calgary Signal Hill federal Conservative nomination, in Calgary, Alberta on Saturday, April 12, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal.
Ron Liepert reacts after defeating Rob Anders during the Calgary Signal Hill federal Conservative nomination, in Calgary, Alberta on Saturday, April 12, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal. Larry MacDougal/CP Photo

CALGARY – Calgary MP Rob Anders, the self-proclaimed “poster boy” for blue Conservatives, has lost the Tory nomination in the riding of Calgary Signal Hill to a former Alberta Progressive Conservative cabinet minister.

Anders, first elected as a Reform MP in Calgary West in 1997, was looking for another term in office in the rejigged riding of Calgary Signal Hill but lost to Ron Liepert, who left the legislature in 2012.

Liepert says he won by a ‘comfortable majority.’

READ MORE: Ron Liepert ousts MP Rob Anders, tells Jason Kenney to ‘mind his own business’

Anders, who is no stranger to controversy, had painted the nomination fight as a battle between blue and red Conservatives. He has accused Liepert of signing up what he calls “Instant Tories” from Liberal and NDP supporters in a bid to unseat him.

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“I’m definitely a poster boy for the blue Conservative side of things and they don’t like that and Ron Liepert openly threatened our members of the federal party that if any of us dared back the Wildrose Alliance in the last provincial election campaign there would be repercussions,” Anders said in a March 27 interview.

“Basically this is him taking a swipe at me for backing Wildrose.”

Conservative MP Rob Anders rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday September 26, 2012. Conservative party officials are chastising Anders for what they say were misleading phone calls placed during a heated nomination battle — a pointed message that they want the race to be fair and open.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservative MP Rob Anders rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday September 26, 2012. Conservative party officials are chastising Anders for what they say were misleading phone calls placed during a heated nomination battle — a pointed message that they want the race to be fair and open.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Anders is known for his strong social conservative views and has gained attention for his sometimes inflammatory statements. For example, he opposed granting honorary citizenship to Nelson Mandela, branding the South African leader a communist and a terrorist.

In February, he came under fire from Calgary’s Muslim community for posing at a gun range in front of a target featuring an image that appeared to be a caricature of Osama Bin Laden.

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Anders, the MP for Calgary West, and Melissa Mathieson, who is running for the federal Conservative nomination in the upcoming Macleod byelection, at a Calgary shooting range. Twitter@CalgaryHerald
Anders, the MP for Calgary West, and Melissa Mathieson, who is running for the federal Conservative nomination in the upcoming Macleod byelection, at a Calgary shooting range. Twitter@CalgaryHerald Twitter@CalgaryHerald

Liepert, who is 64, thought he had left public service in 2012 but found himself on the ground floor in January with a group seeking to remove Anders as MP.

Liepert served as Alberta’s Minister of Energy and Minister of Health and Wellness while representing the riding of Calgary-West from 2004 to 2012.