Ron Liepert, Age: 64
Hometown: Saltcoats, Saskatchewan
Influential because: He defeated six-time incumbent Rob Anders
Let’s be frank: Rob Anders was not the most liked MP in Ottawa, not even among those whom he served beside in the Conservative Party. Anders was an “extreme Tory,” with little in common with the many Red Tories still surviving with a party that dropped “progressive” from its name. Still, Anders had a stranglehold on his constituency – he was re-elected six times. Yet with the federal electoral boundaries redrawn in 2012 and an election in 2015, this year the Conservative Party nomination for the newly created Calgary Signal Hill was up for grabs. Enter Ron Liepert, the former Alberta minister of finance, who took on Anders and beat him, after launching the “It’s Time to Do Better” campaign that showed Anders’ many flaws.
But it got better. Anders’ nomination had been, strangely, endorsed by Jason Kenney, the minister of employment and social development. After his win, Liepert was blunt. “Quite frankly I think Minister Kenney should mind his own business,” he told the CBC. “He should go into his own riding and try and get re-elected in his own riding and quit monkeying around at other nominations …” That refreshing bit of candour bodes well for 2015.