Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Conservative MP Rob Anders rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Sept. 26, 2012.

ADRIAN WYLD/The Canadian Press

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Story continues below advertisement

"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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies