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|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|
Derek Alexander Gerhard Fildebrandt|
October 18, 1985
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
|Political party||Freedom Conservative (2018–present)|
Wildrose (2015–2016; 2016–2017)|
United Conservative (2017)
Independent (2016; 2017–2018)
|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 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.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
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, 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. In that role, Fildebrandt became a vocal critic of former Alberta Premier Alison Redford's fiscal policies and corruption. He regularly used Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation to obtain and release documents that were damaging to the PC government. 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.
In December 2012, Fildebrandt released the expense claims of a majority of cabinet ministers, 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.
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. It was used by the CTF to successfully campaign for a government sunshine list months later.
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. He was a conservative critic of former PC Premier Jim Prentice, calling him a “tax and spend liberal.” 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.
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. His term as Alberta Director of the CTF ended in November 2014.
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. He considered seeking the leadership, but opted instead to support Brian Jean.
On January 26, 2015, Fildebrandt announced that he would seek the Wildrose Party nomination in Strathmore-Brooks. 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. On May 5, 2015, he was elected as the MLA for Strathmore-Brooks.
On May 11, 2015 Fildebrandt was appointed Shadow Finance Minister in the Wildrose Official Opposition Cabinet by Brian Jean. he has advocated for healthcare and seniors care infrastructure in his constituency. Fildebrandt has criticized the NDP for tax increases, deficit spending and its relationship with public sector unions.
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. 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.
Influence in Federal Politics
Fildebrandt supported Maxime Bernier for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership in 2017. 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.
United Conservative Party
On May 18, 2017, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney signed an agreement in principle to create the United Conservative Party of Alberta. 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.
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.”
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. 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."
Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta
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. In his speech Fildebrandt stated that the FCP was a true grassroots party that would not adhere to backroom political games. Fildebrandt is expected to seek the permanent leadership position in the race to be held in 2018.
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." 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. 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. By Tuesday May 31, he was reinstated into the Wildrose Caucus and as the Opposition Shadow Minister of Finance.
On March 3, 2017, Fildebrandt attracted controversy over a tweet, wherein he defined "Racist" as: "someone winning an argument with a liberal or socialist." The tweet, posted in response to criticism by NDP MLA David Shepherd, was attacked by multiple political observers, including Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.
On August 9, 2017, various news outlets revealed that Fildebrandt was routinely renting out his taxpayer-funded Edmonton apartment on Airbnb. 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.  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."
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. Clark claimed that Fildebrandt was effectively "double-claiming" his meals, a practice Clark claimed was in violation of the Legislative Member Service Committee Order. 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."
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. 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." Fildebrandt was found guilty of hit and run in December 2017.
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. 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." 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.
2015 general election
|Alberta general election, 2015: Strathmore-Brooks|
|Progressive Conservative||Molly Douglass||4,449||27.0%|
|New Democratic||Lynn MacWilliam||2,463||15.0%|
|Alberta Party||Einar Davison||307||1.9%|
|Alberta First||Glen Dundas||72||0.4%|
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After re-reading original comment posted on my page, I entirely misread it. 100% against my views.
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