Derek Fildebrandt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Derek Fildebrandt
MLA
Derek Fildebrandt speaking at Manning Centre Conference
Leader of the
Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta
Assumed office
July 18, 2018
Preceded by Position established
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Strathmore-Brooks
Assumed office
May 5, 2015
Preceded by Jason Hale
Personal details
Born Derek Alexander Gerhard Fildebrandt
(1985-10-18) October 18, 1985 (age 32)
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Political party Freedom Conservative (2018–present)
Other political
affiliations
Wildrose (2015–2016; 2016–2017)
United Conservative (2017)
Independent (2016; 2017–2018)
Conservative (federal)
Spouse(s) Emma
Residence Strathmore, Alberta, Canada
Alma mater Carleton University
Occupation Fiscal policy analyst, Advocacy

Derek Alexander Gerhard Fildebrandt, MLA (born October 18, 1985) is the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Strathmore-Brooks[1] and the interim leader of the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta. He was the Alberta Director and National Research Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation from 2009 to 2014.[2][3][4]

Canadian Taxpayers Federation[edit]

In 2009, Fildebrandt was hired as the National Research Director (NRD) of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. As NRD, he published studies on public sector and politician pension reform,[5] federal debt and expenditure reduction programs, and federal balanced budget plans.

In 2012, Fildebrandt moved to Calgary when he was promoted to the post of Alberta Director.[6] In that role, Fildebrandt became a vocal critic of former Alberta Premier Alison Redford's fiscal policies[7] and corruption.[8] He regularly used Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation to obtain and release documents that were damaging to the PC government.[9] On several occasions, Fildebrandt released sole-sourced contracts from the Progressive Conservative government to businesses closely related to the party as part of a campaign to reform public-sector procurement and accountability legislation.[10]

In December 2012, Fildebrandt released the expense claims of a majority of cabinet ministers,[11] resulting in the firing of one minister and an overhaul of expense policies. He helped the PC government draft new expense disclosure policies for MLAs and public sector employees, dubbing the new process the "gold-standard" for other jurisdictions to follow.[12]

Fildebrandt campaigned for a so-called 'sunshine list' that would disclose all government employee salaries, severance payments and pension eligibilities. Controversy ensued in October 2013 when the Redford government refused to disclose to the severance payment of $130,000 made to her former Chief of Staff, Stephen Carter in an FOI request made by him.[13] It was used by the CTF to successfully campaign for a government sunshine list months later.[14]

In February 2014, Fildebrandt released the CTF's balanced budget plan calling for $2.4 billion in spending cuts to business subsidies and the bureaucracy. In May 2014 he spoke out about buyout payments to political appointees.[15] He was a conservative critic of former PC Premier Jim Prentice, calling him a “tax and spend liberal.”[16] During the Alberta PC leadership race, he filed Freedom of Information requests for Jim Prentice's federal expense records, releasing them in September 2014 which came after controversy about alleged irregularities in the destruction of the records.[17]

Fildebrandt was credited by the Calgary Sun with playing a significant role in the downfall of former Alberta Premier Alison Redford and former Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner.[18] His term as Alberta Director of the CTF ended in November 2014.[18][19]

Wildrose Party[edit]

Following the defection of Danielle Smith to the Progressive Conservatives, Fildebrandt was named by the Calgary Sun as a potential candidate for the Wildrose Party leadership.[20] He considered seeking the leadership,[21] but opted instead to support Brian Jean.[22]

On January 26, 2015, Fildebrandt announced that he would seek the Wildrose Party nomination in Strathmore-Brooks.[23] He was named as the candidate on February 6, 2015. During the 2015 General Election, Fildebrandt played a prominent role in the Wildrose campaign. In response to PC challenges to the Wildrose’s budget plan, Fildebrandt challenged Finance Minister Robin Campbell to a debate, which Campbell refused.[24] On May 5, 2015, he was elected as the MLA for Strathmore-Brooks.[25]

On May 11, 2015 Fildebrandt was appointed Shadow Finance Minister in the Wildrose Official Opposition Cabinet by Brian Jean.[26] he has advocated for healthcare and seniors care infrastructure in his constituency.[27][28] Fildebrandt has criticized the NDP for tax increases, deficit spending[29] and its relationship with public sector unions.[30]

He made several public statements throughout 2016, but most notoriously on December 14, 2016, when he broke ranks with Brain Jean and openly called for a merger of the Wildrose and PC Parties.[31] One month later, Jean released a statement in favour of uniting the parties on the same day that Fildebrandt held a fundraiser at the Calgary Petroleum Club calling for a single united party.[32]

Influence in Federal Politics[edit]

Fildebrandt supported Maxime Bernier for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership in 2017.[33] Filderbrandt explained that he left the federal Conservative party after the 2009 auto bailout and Bernier’s leadership run drew him back into the party.[34]

United Liberty[edit]

In 2017, Fildebrandt launched his PAC called United Liberty[35] which is based on libertarian policies such as lower taxes, and less government control.

United Conservative Party[edit]

On May 18, 2017, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney signed an agreement in principle to create the United Conservative Party of Alberta.[36] Fildebrandt publicly mused about running in the United Conservative Party Leadership Race, but ultimately decided against it, announcing he would merely endorse a candidate other than Brian Jean.[37]

In August 2017, Fildebrandt left the United Conservative Party caucus to sit as an independent.[38][39]

During the United Conservative Party leadership race, Jason Kenney implied that Mr. Fildebrandt could be welcomed back to the UCP caucus so long as his legal battles were eventually sorted out stating, “I don’t see us dealing with any prospective admission … until all of that’s been dealt with.”[40]

In February, 2018, after various ethical and legal concerns including failure to disclose legal issues related to licensing and a deer hunt, and accumulated matters of credibility, the leader of the United Conservative Party Jason Kenney announced that Fildebrant was removed from the UCP Caucus.[41] Kenney commented: “I can only conclude that Mr. Fildebrandt deliberately misled us in refusing to disclose this outstanding charge.” Fildebrant continued in his electoral riding as an MLA independent. Fildebrandt stated that he was given an ultimatum by Kenney who wanted to run female MLA Leela Aheer in the new combined riding of Chestermere-Strathmore. Fildebrandt said he was told by Mr. Kenney that "if I wanted to return...I couldn't run in my own constituency."[42]

Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta[edit]

On July 20, 2018, Derek Fildebrant helped found and was appointed Interim Leader of the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, pending a vote. “We in the FCP are conservatives, libertarians and Alberta patriots,” said Fildebrandt.[43] In his speech Fildebrandt stated that the FCP was a true grassroots party that would not adhere to backroom political games.[44] Fildebrandt is expected to seek the permanent leadership position in the race to be held in 2018.

Controversies[edit]

On May 27, 2016, Wildrose leader Brian Jean suspended Fildebrandt for an indefinite period of time after he wrote "Proud to have constituents like you!" in response to a comment referring to Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne as "Mr. Wynne", which Jean called "unacceptable."[45] This came on the heels of an incident where Fildebrandt criticised Premier Wynne in the Alberta Legislature as Wynne sat in the gallery as a guest. Fildebrandt said he "entirely misread" the original comment.[45] A large number of Wildrose members were upset at the move and threatened to cancel donations and membership in the party if the suspension wasn't lifted.[46] By Tuesday May 31, he was reinstated into the Wildrose Caucus and as the Opposition Shadow Minister of Finance.[47]

On March 3, 2017, Fildebrandt attracted controversy over a tweet, wherein he defined "Racist" as: "someone winning an argument with a liberal or socialist."[48] The tweet, posted in response to criticism by NDP MLA David Shepherd, was attacked by multiple political observers, including Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.[48]

On August 9, 2017, various news outlets revealed that Fildebrandt was routinely renting out his taxpayer-funded Edmonton apartment on Airbnb.[49] which allows him to receive public money while generating revenue from the private rental market. Fildebrandt had openly advertised that he was letting out his apartment on Airbnb and confirmed its compliance with government rules while noting that several other MLA's had done the same thing but had not publically disclosed this information. [49] He then donated his profits toward paying down the provincial debt and issued a statement which read "I confirmed that letting out my Edmonton home while it is not being used is compliant with the rules. Everything has been open, public, and transparent."[49]

On August 14, 2017 Alberta Party leader Greg Clark revealed that Fildebrandt had been charging meals to his MLA expense account while simultaneously claiming his MLA per-diem for meals. The potential total of which was $192.60 over a period of two years and Fildebrandt stated that it was a result of administrative errors.[50] Clark claimed that Fildebrandt was effectively "double-claiming" his meals, a practice Clark claimed was in violation of the Legislative Member Service Committee Order.[51] Fildebrandt responded to the claims by saying "I should have been more careful in reviewing them before signing off. I will fully reimburse any discrepancy and take immediate action to ensure that errors like this do not happen again."[50]

On August 15, 2017, Fildebrandt was charged under the provincial traffic act with leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the owner of the damaged vehicle, for an incident alleged to have occurred in June, 2016. He represented himself at his trial in February, 2017. It was revealed during the trial that Fildebrandt had offered to settle with the key witness just before the trial began.[52] Following this news, Fildebrandt announced on Facebook that he would be resigning from the UCP caucus until further notice, stating that "the UCP leadership race should be focused on leadership and values, not personalities."[53] Fildebrandt was found guilty of hit and run in December 2017.[54]

In December 2017, he was charged with illegally killing a deer, after Fildebrandt shot and killed a deer on private property without the landowner's permission.[55] He stated that his GPS was not working and was unaware that he was on private property and took responsibility for his actions upon realizing his mistake. “I was deer hunting in an area that I did not know well and mistakenly thought that I was on crown lease land," said Fildebrandt. "I shot a deer and immediately tagged it. I found out soon afterwards that the land was private and immediately apologized to the owner. I donated the deer to the local food bank afterward. I took full responsibility in my conversation with the owner and Fish and Wildlife Officer and am deeply sorry for the accident."[56] After pleading guilty to the charges on February 2, 2018, United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney announced Fildebrandt will not be allowed to rejoin the UCP caucus.[57]

Electoral history[edit]

2015 general election[edit]

Alberta general election, 2015: Strathmore-Brooks
Party Candidate Votes %
Wildrose Derek Fildebrandt 8,657 52.6%
Progressive Conservative Molly Douglass 4,449 27.0%
New Democratic Lynn MacWilliam 2,463 15.0%
Green Mike Worthington 321 1.9%
Alberta Party Einar Davison 307 1.9%
Liberal Ali Abdulbaki 200 1.2%
Alberta First Glen Dundas 72 0.4%

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Derek Fildebrandt (IC), MLA for Strathmore-Brooks". Alberta Legislative Assembly. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  3. ^ "From left, Derek Fildebrandt of Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Rob Anderson, Wildrose MLA, and Kent Hehr, Liberal MLA, sign pledges to scrap the government’s opaque budget reporting model, in front of the CTF’s debt clock in Calgary.". Stuart Gradon, Calgary Herald July 13, 2014
  4. ^ Fildebr, Derek; t; MLA; Strathmore-Brooks. "Fildebrandt: Alberta NDP budget takes us from bad to worse". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  5. ^ "Ex-MPs have hands out to collect fat pensions". By Daniel Proussalidis, Toronto Sun.
  6. ^ "Former taxpayers watchdog announces bid for Wildrose nomination". 27 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Speech to Premier's Economic Summit | fildebrandt.ca". fildebrandt.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  8. ^ "Alberta Premier Alison Redford leaves mixed legacy behind". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  9. ^ "Beware politicians who want to restrict the flow of information | fildebrandt.ca". fildebrandt.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  10. ^ "Fallout continues over cost of interim gym". Calgary. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  11. ^ "Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls out Alberta MLAs in 'naughty list' for lavish spending". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  12. ^ "AB: CTF Applauds Launch of Expense Disclosure Website". www.taxpayer.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  13. ^ Kornik, Caley Ramsay and Slav. "Former Redford Chief of Staff admits to six-figure severance for six months work". Global News. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  14. ^ Fildebrandt, Derek. "Fildebrandt: Sunshine list is long overdue for Alberta taxpayers". www.calgaryherald.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  15. ^ "Canadian Taxpayers Federation probes pricey payouts". By Catherine Griwkowsky, Edmonton Sun
  16. ^ "Former taxpayers watchdog announces bid for Wildrose nomination". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  17. ^ "Three thousand pages of Jim Prentice’s expense records released after earlier reports they were destroyed". National Post.
  18. ^ a b Patrone, Marc. "Derek Fildebrandt takes his leave from Canadian Taxpayers Federation with pride, few regrets" Archived 2014-11-25 at the Wayback Machine.. Sun News.
  19. ^ "CTF Alberta director calls it quits". News Talk 770 (CHQR) November 07, 2014
  20. ^ Patrone, Marc (December 22, 2014). "Reporter". Sun News Network. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Calgary Sun". 
  22. ^ http://www.strathmoretimes.com/583-march-6-2015-strathmore-times/5122-fildebrandt-supports-brian-jean-for-wildrose-leader
  23. ^ "Derek Fildebrandt seeks Wildrose nomination in Strathmore-Brooks". Calgary Sun. Calgary Sun. 
  24. ^ "Alberta Election Week Three" (PDF). 
  25. ^ "Fildebrandt to be next Strathmore-Brooks MLA". Strathmore Standard. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Alberta's official Opposition names its shadow cabinet". 
  27. ^ Jody. "NDP promises Hospital upgrades". strathmoretimes.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  28. ^ "The Brooks Bulletin". brooksbulletin.com. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  29. ^ nurun.com. "Fildebrandt and Notley spar over carbon tax". Strathmore Standard. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  30. ^ "Alberta's adviser on public sector wages is former AUPE negotiator". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  31. ^ Wood, James. "Wildrose rift: Party appears split over merger with PCs". 
  32. ^ Braid, Don. "Jean says he'll quit, but on Wildrose terms". 
  33. ^ Derek Fildebrandt (February 27, 2017). "Derek Fildebrandt on Twitter: "I'm proud to support Mad @MaximeBernier for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada! #ableg #abpoli https://t.co/S0k5ES0BbR"". Twitter. Retrieved April 25, 2017.  External link in |title= (help)
  34. ^ "How 'Mad Max' Bernier went from comic relief to Tory front-runner - Macleans.ca". Macleans.ca. 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2018-01-22. 
  35. ^ "Derek Fildebrandt launches United Liberty group". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-31. 
  36. ^ "Agreement in principle on the establishment of the United Conservative Party" (PDF). May 18, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Brian Jean 'is not the best man to lead': Fildebrandt takes parting shot as he bows out of UCP race - CBC News". 
  38. ^ "Derek Fildebrandt resigns from Alberta UCP caucus after series of missteps". Retrieved 2018-07-23. 
  39. ^ "Rick Fraser, Calgary MLA, leaves United Conservative Party to sit as an independent". Edmonton Sun. 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2018-07-23. 
  40. ^ "Fildebrandt's return to UCP possible, but Kenney says legal issues need to be resolved". Calgary Herald. 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-23. 
  41. ^ "Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt can't rejoin UCP caucus after pleading guilty to illegal deer hunt". 
  42. ^ "Embattled MLA Fildebrandt says UCP party leader delivered ultimatum to him on running for re-election". Edmonton Journal. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-07-23. 
  43. ^ "Braid: Fildebrandt's new party earns ferocious response from Kenney". 18 July 2018. 
  44. ^ "Derek Fildebrandt says UCP too 'vanilla,' starts new Freedom Conservative Party". Edmonton Journal. 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2018-07-23. 
  45. ^ a b "Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt suspended after 'unacceptable' comment on social media". CBC Calgary. After re-reading original comment posted on my page, I entirely misread it. 100% against my views. 
  46. ^ Farooqui, Salmaan. "Fildebrandt finds support on social media from Wildrose members and public". Calgary Sun. 
  47. ^ "Wildrose lifts suspension of MLA Derek Fildebrandt". CBC Calgary. 
  48. ^ a b "Wildrose Finance Critic defines the word 'racist' as someone who is 'winning an argument'". 
  49. ^ a b c Graney, Emma (August 10, 2017). "Finance critic Derek Fildebrandt rents downtown digs on Airbnb while claiming housing allowance". Edmonton Journal. 
  50. ^ a b "Alberta MLA Fildebrandt says 'administrative errors' to blame for double dipping on meal expenses | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-07-25. 
  51. ^ "Clark calls on Fildebrandt to explain double-claimed meal expenses". 
  52. ^ "Beleaguered UCP MLA Derek Fildebrandt facing 2016 hit-and-run charge". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-16. 
  53. ^ "Derek Fildebrandt". www.facebook.com. 
  54. ^ Bennett, Dean (18 December 2017). "Alberta politician Derek Fildebrandt convicted of hit and run, fined". 
  55. ^ "Derek Fildebrandt charged with illegal deer kill on private land". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  56. ^ "MLA Derek Fildebrandt faces charges related to alleged unlawful hunting practices". Calgary. 2017-12-13. Retrieved 2018-07-23. 
  57. ^ "MLA Derek Fildebrandt won't be allowed to rejoin UCP after pleading guilty to illegally shooting deer". CBC News. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 

External links[edit]