CALGARY – The self-proclaimed “poster boy” for blue Conservatives went down to defeat Saturday night at the hands of a former Alberta cabinet minister.
Ron Liepert defeated MP Rob Anders in the battle for the Conservative nomination in the rejigged riding of Calgary Signal Hill.
Liepert, who is 64 and a former member of the Alberta legislature, 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.
“When we started this campaign about three months ago what we wanted to do was reengage Conservatives and get ready for the 2015 election,” Liepert told reporters after his win.
“I’d heard far too long in this riding that people felt they didn’t have an opportunity to select the candidate they wanted to vote for if they wanted to vote Conservative,” he added.
“We achieved our goal. We achieved it with a very comfortable majority and I think now we move on and we move forward.”
Anders, who is no stranger to controversy, had painted the nomination fight as a battle between blue and red Conservatives.
First elected as a Reform MP in Calgary West in 1997, Anders accused Liepert of signing up what he called “Instant Tories” from Liberal and NDP supporters in a bid to unseat him.
Anders wasn’t on hand for the announcement, electing to spend the night at a northwest Calgary bar, but he did speak briefly to reporters afterward.
“I’ve been honoured to represent Calgary West in Parliament and I love my volunteers. We did a lot of good work over the last number of years. We recruited so many young people and trained them up,” Anders said.
“I’m a movement Conservative and I love the work that we’ve done and what we fought for.”
Anders said he has yet to decide what he will do after his term is over.
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