rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Former Wildrose House leader Rob Anderson to test blogging as a cure for politics

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Rob Anderson

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Say hello to Rob Anderson, newest member of Alberta's political blogging elite.

Rob Anderson?

The very same. The storm toss'd former House Leader and finance critic of the Wildrose Party, one of the few politicians to duplicate Winston Churchill's notorious feat of crossing the floor twice in opposite directions, has announced he has taken up blogging.

Anderson, who lately practices law in the Calgary suburb of Airdrie, which he once represented as an MLA, calls his blogging effort "The Recovering Politician." In his first post, he professes relief at being able "to speak out on several issues without the need for a political filter."

There are those who might suggest that if someone is really serious about recovering from politics, writing a political blog might not be best the way to do it, but that, I suppose, must be left to Anderson himself to determine. As far as anyone knows, there is no 12-step program for this affliction.

There are also those who might be skeptical Anderson actually intends to do much more than take a short rest from politics. For that, we will have to wait for Anderson's answer.

The former Mormon missionary to Taiwan was elected as a Progressive Conservative in the riding of Airdrie-Chestermere in the 2008 provincial election and crossed the floor of the Alberta Legislature in 2010 to join the fledgling Wildrose Party.

He was re-elected as a Wildroser in 2012 for the slightly renamed riding of Airdrie, which had been redrawn to sever the pricey residences surrounding Chestermere Slough. He was one of the 17-member (subsequently smaller) Opposition Wildrose Caucus's most visible and effective MLAs until December 2014.

During that period, Anderson built a reputation as an aggressive attacker in Question Period, which naturally made him a strong performer in opposition but unpopular with the governing PCs under premiers Alison Redford and Dave Hancock. Known to be politically ambitious, he was also dogged during that time by rumors, which he always denied, that he was after then Wildrose leader Danielle Smith's job.

Regardless, in the fall of 2014, once the Tories had picked Jim Prentice as their leader and saviour, both Anderson and Smith seemed to lose their keenness for opposition. Soon after, Anderson made conciliatory noises in the Legislature about co-operating with the Tories -- which at the time were greeted with incredulity.

In December 2014, down came the other shoe, in the form of a summons to a meeting in an Edmonton hotel by Preston Manning, the great uniter of right-wing political parties and the godfather of the Canadian conservative movement.

Soon after, Anderson and Smith led the majority of the Wildrose caucus across the floor to the PC benches and the metaphorical embrace of Prentice -- enabling Anderson to show what Churchill, the late wartime British prime minister, called "a certain ingenuity." (The entire Churchill quote, glossing his own floor-crossing, which had left a bad smell for a spell, goes as follows: "Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat.")

What had seemed at first blush to be a political coup for the PCs soon went sideways. The defection proved so unpopular that Anderson even received a death threat, although if it were from a Wildroser betrayed or a Tory a affrighted at the prospect of having Anderson back in the party’s ranks seems never to have been established.

Perhaps more important to what happened next, the Tory caucus rebelled at Prentice's welcome to the Wildrose members -- who were all rumoured to have been promised cabinet posts -- and that deal went pear-shaped too within hours.

At that point -- quite unlike Smith, who behaved with remarkable naiveté throughout -- Anderson had the wit to accurately read the handwriting on the wall and get the hell out of Babylon while the getting was good. In terms of a future revival of his political career, this means he wasn't around to share in the ignominy of seeing his recently re-adopted Tories nearly wiped out by the New Democrats led by Premier Rachel Notley.

Instead, Anderson returned to the practice of law with the Airdrie firm of Warnock, Rathgeber and Company. He had studied law at the University of Alberta after graduating from Brigham Young University in Utah, where he majored in communications.

Now, Anderson wrote in his first and so far only post that he "will provide a no-bull, politically incorrect, and hopefully helpful take on political and other relevant topics of the day."

This, he went on, will be written "from the perspective of someone who has seen inside the heart of the provincial political beast, got out of it alive and mostly intact. …" Now being "entirely unreliant" on politics for his financial wellbeing, he added, means he can feel free to "tell it like it is."

Or perhaps like it isn't. At any rate, Anderson promises to expose the 'cult-like practices" of today’s political parties, to continue to advocate for a union of the right that includes libertarians, and to examine "how Alberta slid into a quasi-socialist state while no one was looking."

On that last one, um, he may encounter some informed disagreement about just how socialist, quasi or otherwise, Ms. Notley’s NDP government actually is. (Hint: Not very.)

With Yours Truly, Dave Cournoyer and Susan Wright to keep track of, readers of Alberta political bloggery will be relieved to learn they should not be overtaxed by Anderson's exertions. He promises to file no more than one or two posts a month.

As an aside, if Anderson is indeed contemplating an eventual return to politics, he needs to be aware that blogging and political success are not necessarily naturally compatible activities.

The Rathgeber named in Anderson’s law firm, though, is Dale Rathgeber, brother of now-independent St. Albert Member of Parliament and frequent blogger Brent Rathgeber, another former Tory with a background in the law who may soon have an opportunity to take up blogging full time.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.