Tory MP Rob Anders: NDP ‘Bloodsuckers’ Want To Inject Kids With Heroin

With Halloween just around the corner, Conservative MP Rob Anders unleashed a scary story in the House of Commons this week.

And while private members statements — those speeches MPs give before the excitement of question period — don’t often get a lot of press, Anders’ rant is… something else.

Anders, who represents the riding of Calgary West, began Monday by saying Albertans fear a “repeat of scary National Energy program thinking.”

He claimed New Democrats, whom he called “socialist bloodsuckers,” want to institute a $21-billion carbon tax and “impale” Albertans with a gas hike tax of 10 cents a litre.

Then he took a thinly veiled shot at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

“There is this evil Liberal name that haunts us still and wants to hand out drugs to our kids,” he said.

Anders is seemingly referring to Trudeau’s support for the legalization of marijuana. Trudeau maintains that controlling, taxing and regulating the substance will actually help keep it out of the hands of children.

Then Anders turned to New Democrats.

“This ghost of the NDP wants to acquire heroin with taxpayer money and inject it into the veins of Canada’s children,” he said.

The controversial Conservative may have been referring to a recently closed “loophole” at Health Canada that allowed certain drugs, like heroin and cocaine, to be obtained for patients in exceptional circumstances under a federal special access program.

Conservatives brought forward new regulations to stop the practice earlier this month.

The ban came just weeks after Health Minister Rona Ambrose ripped her own department’s decision to authorize some B.C. doctors to prescribe heroin to 20 addicts for whom other treatments had failed.

Tories have since fundraised on the issue, saying the NDP and Liberals would make the program permanent if elected in 2015.

NDP health critic Libby Davies told iPolitics it was “sickening” to see Conservatives raise money on such an issue.

“I feel like this is a government that is abandoning any notion of public policy divisions, based on real evidence and expert advice,” she said. “Everything they do is wrapped in a partisan ideological message.”

Davies has said medicalized heroin maintenance has been used successfully and is part of treatment in places like Europe.

“It’s another example of the Conservative government ignoring sound public policy, driven by expert advice, and instead making decisions based on political dogma,” she said.

But Anders’ speech wasn’t all doom and gloom. He ended on a high note by speaking about something he doesn’t find scary — the Harper government’s trade agreement with the European Union.

With files from The Canadian Press



First Liberal and NDP candidates declared in race for Toronto Centre

Published Thu, Jul 25, 2013 1:27 pm EDT



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LGBT activist Todd Ross and journalist Jenn Hollett first to declare

The first candidates to replace outgoing Toronto Centre MP Bob Rae have made their intentions known, with longtime LGBT activist Todd Ross throwing his name in for the Liberal nomination and journalist and former MuchMusic VJ Jennifer Hollett announcing her bid for the NDP nomination.

Ross launched his campaign at an event at Spirits on Church Street July 23. He’s an out gay Métis and a former naval officer originally from New Brunswick with a long history of involvement with queer organizations, environmental and aboriginal causes. Ross is currently a senior manager at the HIV/AIDS hospice Casey House, chair of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, and a founding member of the Rainbow Railroad, an organization that helps settle queer refugees in Canada.

As a Liberal Party activist since 1987, Ross says he’s happy to hold his record against any of the high-profile candidates who are rumoured to be seeking the Liberal nomination, including former MPP and mayoral candidate George Smitherman who confirmed to Xtra that he was considering a bid, and former CTV National news correspondent and talk show host Seamus O’Regan, who has been rumoured to be preparing one.

“There may be some big names there, but I challenge them with what are they doing in the riding now,” he says. “I’m trying to recruit people who are concerned about the environment, health care, and human rights. There are a lot of people who are concerned with what’s happening in Ottawa, and there’s a chance to send a community person who is liberal up to Ottawa to fight for the community.”

Hollett launched her campaign at the Paintbox Bistro in the Regent Park redevelopment July 24. She’s an award-winning journalist, perhaps best known to Canadians for her stints as a MuchMusic VJ and on talkTV. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard and has been a leader in organizations dedicated to international human rights and women’s issues.

Hollett says she was inspired to get into politics by the late NDP leader Jack Layton.

“He showed what was possible for progressives in Canada. I thought okay, you know what, I think this is the time. I started actively thinking about it. I didn’t expect a byelection to be called so soon, but I’m very excited for the opportunity right now,” she says.

Hollett says she’s driven by income inequality.

“The cost of living is so expensive for people. A big part of that is housing. Rent is too expensive and even if you own a home, to get into that market or to maintain your cost of living, that’s a big challenge,” she says.

Hollett, who is straight, says she wants to work with the queer community to advance queer causes.

“I think while there have been great gains, there’s also challenges for people coming from other parts of the world seeking refuge. I think there’s still a lot of challenges and discussions around transgender issues,” she says.

Trans activist Susan Gapka has been rumoured to be considering a bid for the NDP and has refused to rule one out.

Both candidates will face nomination races in their respective parties before an eventual byelection, which will likely be called in the fall. Neither party has announced dates for its nomination meetings.