Rob Anders is an outspoken MP with extreme social views.
It certainly takes conviction to speak up against the prevailing opinion of the day, and we have no qualms with his right to exercise free speech.
However, the job of an MP is to represent the interests and views of his or her constituents. An MP who consistently acts against the views of the people that he's representing isn't being a very good MP.
If you've taken the Anders Awareness Quiz, you'll know that sometimes it's difficult to tell who Anders thinks he's representing. (And if you haven't taken the quiz, you should do so now, because the following contains some spoilers).
The Nelson Mandela incident serves as an excellent example.
Nelson Mandela is the man widely hailed for inspiring the peaceful collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa, under which whites and nonwhites were forcibly separated from one another, and a white minority ruled over the oppressed majority of the population. Elected deputy National President of the African National Congress in 1952, he advocated nonviolent resistance to the apartheid regime. However, the regime viewed him as a threat, and after the military massacred peaceful demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, the ANC launched the MK, a paramilitary wing to fight the oppressive regime. Although the MK only attacked symbolic targets under Mandela's watch, Mandela was arrested, and spent 27 years in jail. In 1991, he was elected President of South Africa, and continues to serve as an eloquent statesman, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In 2001, the Federal Government decided to give Mandela honorary Canadian citizenship, making him only the second foreigner to receive such an honour. Deepak Obhrai, the Conservative MP for Calgary East, announced that Mandela was "Not only...an international symbol of resistance to prejudice and injustice, but...also a symbol for peace and forgiveness."
Rob Anders disagreed, calling Mandela, "a communist and a terrorist," decrying Mandela as "the politically correct Left-lib poster boy of today", and predicting that he would be forgotten in 30 years.
"Would you want to live in Johannesburg today?" he asked, implying that South Africans, 75% of whom were stripped of their rights for half of a century, would have been better off under the apartheid regime.
Mandela, famous for his willingness to reconcile with his oppressors, then attempted to phone Anders to smooth things out, but Anders refused to take his call.
Anders' actions were an embarrassment, both to his party, and to our riding.
UPDATE: You can also view this interview with Christopher Thomas from CBC Newsworld, in which Thomas incredulously watches as Anders does his best to avoid answering the questions, choosing to talk instead about an unrelated immigration bill, and the Dalai Lama. The best part is when he admits that he did this out of petty rivalry because the Government wouldn't approve one of his bills. [You'll need RealPlayer to view the interview.]