Ron Liepert confirms challenge to Rob Anders
Former Alberta cabinet minister to contest Conservative nomination with sitting MP
Former Alberta cabinet minister Ron Liepert has confirmed he will challenge MP Rob Anders for the Conservative nomination in the new riding of Calgary-Signal Hill.
Liepert is part of a group of Conservatives in Calgary who launched the website timetodobetter.ca to gauge support for the idea of a challenge to the incumbent.
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He said he's heard from hundreds of people since his name was first floated earlier this month.
“They wanted a candidate to oppose Mr. Anders and in many cases, they encouraged myself to run, I didn't think it would come this quickly but here we are.”
In a statement on his website, Liepert pledged his loyalty to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"The prime minister has successfully led our country through some of the most challenging economic times with fiscal policies that have kept Canada’s economy strong," writes Liepert.
"He has guided the country with moderate social policies that have been accepted by the majority of Canadians."
Anders has held the riding of Calgary West for 17 years. Under the new electoral map to be used in the next federal election in 2015, the riding boundaries will change and the name of the riding will also change to Calgary-Signal Hill.
Anders has faced challengers from within his own party in the past and he is dismissive of the current efforts.
“Ron Liepert's a tax-and-spend friend of Liberals and I’m a true blue principled Stephen Harper loyalist Conservative," said Anders.
"This battle has been played out before and we'll play it out again.”
Political scientist Lori Williams said though Anders has defeated other challengers in the past, Liepert's resume means this will be a race to watch.
`We've had strong candidates before. No one with this kind of experience, no one with this kind of connection to that community, nobody who is known and, for the most part, liked by the constituents of that community," said Williams.
"I think he's really got an advantage in that he doesn't have the negatives that Rob Anders does and he's got a great many positives.”
No date has been set for the nomination meeting.