Conservative party scolds MP Anders for ’misleading’ nomination calls

Conservative party officials have chastised Tory MP Rob 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.

OTTAWA — Conservative party officials have chastised Tory MP Rob 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.

Anders’ campaign for the nomination in Calgary-Signal Hill placed calls to party members last week that might have left the impression they were calling from rival Ron Liepert’s campaign.

A script for the calls, which was turned over to the party’s National Candidate Selection Committee, features a person saying they are calling from the Conservatives and inquiring whether the party member will be supporting Liepert.

If the target of the call was unsure about who they would support, the caller would proceed to criticize Liepert, said a Conservative source familiar with the script’s contents. The source was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Liepert, a former provincial cabinet minister challenging Anders for the Conservative nomination, lodged a complaint with Elections Canada earlier this week.

The Canadian Press obtained a letter sent to Anders by the selection committee, a powerful body that has the final say over who gets to run for the party.

“The NCSC has concluded that the script used by your campaign was inappropriate and misleading and should not have been used,” said the letter, sent Thursday.

“We require that your campaign comply with its obligations to be accurate when communicating with members of the party, as you have now agreed to do.”

Anders would not comment directly on the letter, but said he sees a difference between the party’s stance and what Liepert has said about the calls.

He said he still intends on suing Liepert for what he has said about the issue, and points out that some of the calls made last week also asked whether the person was supporting his campaign.

“Mr. Liepert’s intention was to go ahead and distract from the endorsement from the prime minister,” Anders said in an interview.

“He is intentionally trying to smear and muddy waters in order to advance his own agenda. He’s being misleading and defamatory with regard to his statements.”

There is a difference of opinion over whether Stephen Harper quotes provided to incumbents for their campaigns are actual endorsements. The quotes do not mention the word “endorse,” but instead praise the MP’s work in government and in caucus.

The party’s rebuke over the calls is a signal that the party is intent on living up to its promise to ensure a level playing field in nomination battles, even when one competitor is an incumbent MP.

It’s the first time since the Conservatives formed government in 2006 that incumbents are not being protected from challengers.

A handful of MPs face nomination contests.

Eve Adams, now MP for Mississauga-Brampton South, is fighting local chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna for the nomination in the new riding of Oakville-North Burlington.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

Saddle up Red Deer, the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Canada is coming… Continue reading

Veterans’ Park barrier key to pedestrian safety, says Red Deer traffic engineer

The recently roughed-up concrete barrier in front of Veterans’ Park has seen… Continue reading

Man accused of home invasion in court

Victim was shot and cut with machete in September 2017 attack

Suspect accused of fleeing police in court

RCMP fired shots twice while trying to arrest three suspects in October 2017 chase

WATCH: Rebels play floor hockey with Annie L. Gaetz students

The Rebels may be on a losing streak but they were definitely… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month