Wildrose leader Brian Jean campaigned with Derek Fildebrandt in Strathmore-Brooks on the first day of the 2015 election. (Photo from Brian Jean's Facebook Page).

Derek Fildebrandt has a very, very bad week.

Photo: In happier times, as Derek Fildebrandt campaigned alongside Wildrose leader Brian Jean in Strathmore-Brooks on the first day of the 2015 election. (Photo from Brian Jean’s Facebook Page).

Over the course of eight days, Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt went from being a potential leadership candidate to stepping down from the United Conservative Party Caucus.

As a former spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Official Opposition finance critic in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly, he had earned a reputation as a relentlessly partisan critic of the old Progressive Conservative and current New Democratic Party governments. His reputation as a fiscal crusader, and his political future, were put in question this week.

Here is a quick look at the past eight days in FIldebrandt’s political world:

August 8, 2017: Former Wildrose Party finance critic and United Conservative Party finance co-critic Derek Fildebrandt announces he will not run for the leadership of the new party. He tells reporters than he will instead use his United Liberty PAC to push the party and leadership candidates to adopt libertarian policies.

He takes a direct shot at former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, now a candidate for the UCP, saying that “he is not the best man to lead the party and lead Alberta.” (Background: Jean attempted to suspend Fildebrandt from the Wildrose Caucus in June 2016).

August 9, 2017: Postmedia reports that Fildebrandt has been renting his taxpayer-subsidized downtown Edmonton apartment on Airbnb. Fildebrandt tells the media to “Find someone under 35 with a downtown apartment that doesn’t let their apartment if they’re gone half the year.

August 10, 2017: Fildebrandt issues a statement saying he plans to donate the $2,555 he earned through Airbnb to the provincial debt. ‘I’m not interested in letting the politics of smear distract from the real issues,’ his statement read.

Rather than focusing on complaining about people trying to smear him, he should acknowledge that it was a mistake and he should apologize,” Premier Rachel Notley tells reporters.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci calls on Fildebrandt to apologize for his actions. “The public puts a lot of faith in their elected officials, and when people act like that I think they destroy that faith,” Ceci told reporters.

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark calls for penalties for MLAs who break reimbursement rules and writes to Legislative Assembly Speaker Bob Wanner to ask for an audit of all MLA living expenses.

Late that night, Fildebrandt announces he is taking leave from his position as UCP finance co-critic and is leaving on vacation.

August 14, 2017: Clark releases documents that he suggests show Fildebrandt claimed meal expenses and an MLA per-diem for the same meal nine times. Fildebrandt releases a statement admitting that there “were some administrative errors in processing meal receipts.

These expense claims are concerning and appear to be part of a larger pattern of behaviour that is unacceptable for a member of the United Conservative Party caucus,” United Conservative Party leader Nathan Cooper said in an statement

August 15, 2017: CBC reports that ‘Edmonton police conducted an investigation and on June 14, 2016, charged Fildebrandt under the provincial traffic act with leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the owner of the damaged vehicle.’ Cooper tells CBC he did not know about the charge. The trial was adjourned until September 6, 2017, when Fildebrandt is expected to present his evidence.

Late tonight, Fildebrandt issued a statement on his Facebook page where he took two swipes at the media before announcing his plans to leave the UCP caucus and sit as an Independent MLA.

6 thoughts on “Derek Fildebrandt has a very, very bad week.

  1. Red Tory

    “leave the UCP caucus and sit as an Independent MLA.”

    BS. I bet Derek is back in the UCP the moment Jason Kenney wins the leadership. This is only a way for them to deflect his scandals away from them. He’s never out.

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  2. Frank

    ” Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit appears before a fall” Proverbs 16:18. International Standard Version.

    Oh how those words still ring true today to describe Derrick Fildebrandt’s fall from prestige and glory for an up and self entitled future leader of the UCP leader and Premier. What is worse about this failure is that people who had blind faith in this man is that they were duped into believing that this guy could do no wrong and that he could literally walk on water.

    Brian Jean should have realized a long time ago that he had a Judas sitting next to him and that he would eventually turn on him to further his own selfish ambitions. I am also sure that Jason Kenney is going to keep him away as this guy is politically toxic.

    I don’t see any of his so called friends ie Mike Ellis, Richard Grotfried; will be coming to his defence soon or any of his caucus mates wanting to take their coat off to fight for him.

    Oh Derrick, for someone who presented himself as perfect and incorruptible you had this false belief that you could do no wrong. You are only human like the rest of us mere mortals who in the end are only dust and from the earth we came to the earth we will return.

    Now Derrick, go get yourself a mirror to see who you really are. A fish that stinks from the head down.

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  3. Jerrymacgp

    Karma’s a bitch. If Mr Fildebrandt hadn’t been such a rabid crusader for “respecting taxpayer dollars”, he might not have taken such a shellacking over these trivial financial missteps. Those meal expenses are so tiny, nobody should get into much of a swivet over them. Anyone else could have said, “oops, I screwed up… sorry, here’s the money back”, and that would have been the end of it. It was his holier than thou attitude towards MLA and government spending that took him down, and the blatant hypocrisy these expense matters revealed.

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  4. David

    That was indeed a very, very bad week – from anticipated potential leadership candidate to three strikes and you’re out of the party. People did really expect better from him, as was said by the Premier “to walk the talk”

    Yes, I think he might have been let off easier on some of this if he hadn’t been such a rabid crusader and also such an apparent back stabber to his former leader. I think it all rubbed many people in the UCP and many other Albertans the wrong way.

    I am sure the Kenney campaign would love to get hm back to pummel Jean for them, but I just can’t see it happening – he is too damaged now. Perhaps the UCP will let him back in eventually after the embarrassment dies down, but even on this I wonder. It is not just one mistake, it appears as the interim UCP leader said to be part of pattern of behavior.

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  5. urbangrrrl

    “Me thinks he doth protest too much.” or “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

    Pick your axiom. The bigger the blowhard, the harder s/he falls. Time to be humble, Derek.
    Lick your wounds and keep your nose to the grindstone, not grandstand.

    Can’t feel sorry for him — he had it coming. Probably one of the most arrogant and mean people I’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with one-on-one.

    Reply

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