Alberta Politics

For Wildrose, “Mr. Wynne” Facebook comment was last straw for Derek Fildebrandt

A statement released late on Friday night announced that Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean had suspended Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt from the Official Opposition Caucus.

As author David Climenhaga wrote on Friday night:

A screen shot of a Facebook message posted earlier Friday evening by Mr. Fildebrandt and shows the message referred to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne as “Mr. Wynne or whatever the hell she identifies as” – an apparent reference to the fact Ms. Wynne is openly gay. The author of the comment adds to Mr. Fildebrandt, “proud to have you as my MLA,” and Mr. Fildebrandt initially responded, “Proud to have constituents like you!”

Mr. Fildebrandt quickly apologized but the flippant Facebook comment about Kathleen Wynne’s sexuality too clearly crossed the line. Remember that it was only four short years ago that a statement claiming gays and lesbians would burn in a Lake of Fire cost the Wildrose a shot at forming government in Alberta. Since then the rural-based party has done its best to avoid discussing social issues that could hurt its public image.

Ms. Wynne accepted Mr. Fildebrandt’s apology, but wondered whether a man would have faced the same kind of vicious attack.

Mr. Fildebrandt made headlines last week after he took to the floor of the Assembly to attack Ms. Wynne’s record as premier as she sat as a guest in the Speaker’s Gallery in the Alberta’s Legislative Assembly. The move was almost universally seen as being in bad taste and led Postmedia columnist Graham Thomson to refer to the Wildrose as “Team Petulant.”

Ms. Wynne was in Edmonton to meet with Premier Rachel Notley to discuss climate change and her potential support for the TransCanada Corporation’s Energy East Pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick. As unabashed advocates for oil pipelines in all directions, the timing of the Wildrose critic’s hyper-partisan rant was baffling.

The former Canadian Taxpayers Federation spokesperson fit naturally into his role as the Wildrose Party’s chief attack dog but his antics sometimes attracted more attention than his party’s actual message.

As the Official Opposition Finance critic and chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Fildebrandt was one of the most high profile opposition MLAs and the New Democratic Party government’s most uncompromising and unrelenting critic. He will now sit as an Independent MLA.

3 replies on “For Wildrose, “Mr. Wynne” Facebook comment was last straw for Derek Fildebrandt”

Mr. Fildebrant is one thing. The hate-filled ranting of his ilk on social media about Ms. Wynne is shocking. This is the first time in 59 years I’d rather not have been born in Alberta.

@GregH: “The hate-filled ranting of his ilk”? Huh. The shock value’s trying to milk too much traction out of one swapped-out “s” — much more than the event can truly justify. The ploy’s old now. And the offence-posturing is officially tiresome. No more virtue signalling from you!

Suspending Derek Fildebrandt was a mistake. Wildrose should never have succumbed to this depth of overreaction. Fildebrandt’s extended his apology, Wynne’s accepted it, and that’s enough. He’s an effective critic who should be restored to his role.

@Incal The Wildrose offers no solutions to deal with real issues. The leader flip-flops on issues. The antics of their candidates and cabinet members rivals that of Ralph Klein. Ralph Klein often said things,(and did things)which he shouldn’t have, and eventually his own caucus disowned him with a sub-par approval rating. With what we have been seeing time and time again with the Wildrose, they will not govern Alberta ever. The Alberta PCs are done and the Wildrose do not stand a chance of ruling Alberta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *