Calgary MP Rob Anders booted off veterans committee

Calgary MP Rob Anders has been kicked off the veterans affairs committee, following controversial comments he made when he was accused of falling asleep in a meeting.

MP made controversial comments after being accused of falling asleep at Halifax meeting

Calgary MP Rob Anders is no longer a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, kicked off following controversial comments he made when he was accused of falling asleep in a meeting.

The controversy was prompted by Anders' behaviour at a meeting of the committee in Halifax. The group of MPs was hearing from an organization that helps former soldiers who are homeless and its president said Anders showed up late, then started text messaging on his phone, then fell asleep.

Anders denied that he fell asleep and suggested that his accusers were NDP "hacks" who praised Vladimir Putin.

The Veterans Emergency Transition Services group was angered by Anders' behaviour and comments he made after the meeting. The group called for his resignation from the committee.

Liberal MP Sean Casey said Anders had fallen asleep before and he was one of the critics who was calling for Anders to be kicked off the committee, along with the NDP's veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer, who also demanded an apology from Anders in the House of Commons.

Anders did offer an apology on March 6, saying, "I have and continue to have enormous respect for the men and women who have sacrificed in the service of our country. I recognize that the democracy we have today is in large part attributable to them."

In his brief statement, he also said he wanted "to express my sincere apology for my comments with respect to Mr. [Jim] Lowther and Mr. David MacLeod."

"Further, I want to apologize for any offence my comments may have caused veterans or anyone else," he added.

But the apology wasn't enough, and Anders' removal from the committee was made official Wednesday in the House of Commons when a report recommending it was tabled. It received unanimous consent.

"It is clear that over the past couple of months, Conservative MP Rob Anders has become a distraction to the work of the Veterans Affairs Committee," Casey said in a statement.

"I wish Mr. Anders well with his new responsibilities on the Joint Senate-House Scrutiny of Regulations Committee."

When Anders fell asleep last year in question period, his office said that he had been in a car accident and had suffered whiplash and it was taking a toll on him.


Meagan Fitzpatrick is a multiplatform reporter with CBC News in Toronto. She joined the CBC in 2011 and previously worked in the Parliament Hill and Washington bureaus. She has also reported for the CBC from Hong Kong. Meagan started her career as a print reporter in Ottawa.