HOTOS: Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt at the moment yesterday when he declared “politics is full of bullshit.” (Photo: Screenshot of CBC’s broadcast of the news conference.) Below: United Conservative Party Deputy Leader Leela Aheer, who, unlike Mr. Fildebrandt, probably has a future in politics, and the man who sent him into political exile, UCP Leader Jason Kenney.
It’s all about Derek!
The spectacular flame-out of Derek Fildebrandt, a politician once touted (at least by himself) as potential leader of the united right in Alberta, continues to pick up speed, generating light and eerie noises in the night skies over Alberta.
It’s mildly unnerving to watch the political career of the Independent MLA for Strathmore-Brooks and self-described “Liberty Conservative” trailing smoke and sparks as it plummets toward the surface of the planet.
Not long ago, the 32-year-old Mr. Fildebrandt was the fair-haired boy of the loony libertarian fringe of the Canadian conservative movement. The former stunt producer for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation had made good. He was an actual elected official with at least a long-shot chance of someday leading a sizeable number of the country’s conservatives.
Then, in short order, came the Airbnb bust, the meal chits fiasco, the traffic fine for playing unauthorized bumper cars in an Edmonton parking lot, and the illegal shooting of a deer in a farmer’s field near Sundre. Well, there’s small comfort at least in the merciful fact it wasn’t a farmer’s prize quarter horse he blasted! Fines and such things followed.
Then came the final humiliation, the Ottawa native’s permanent banishment to the Siberia of Canadian politics – the Independent benches.
The unkindest cut of all was that he was sent into exile by Jason Kenney himself, leader of the United Conservative Party and, like Mr. Fildebrandt, a former CTF operative. It happened just as Mr. Fildebrandt thought he was about to be welcomed back to the embrace of the Opposition, although never again as finance critic.
So, yesterday, there was Mr. Fildebrandt at a one-man “news conference” in the Legislature Building in Edmonton, holding forth on how he would introduce a private member’s bill saying Alberta MLAs should give up 5 per cent of their salaries until the provincial budget is balanced. Never mind that it’s a silly idea, a typical CTF stunt, the government must be tempted to endorse it just to get up Mr. Kenney’s nose.
The thing is, it’s always all about Derek! No one in the Legislature is less self-aware than Mr. Fildebrandt.
It is quite likely he missed entirely that the media reporters who showed up yesterday did so to see an entertaining diversion from the more serious business of this afternoon’s Speech from the Throne, in which the NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley will introduce its legislative program for the crucial final year before the 2019 general election.
Becoming maudlin, Mr. Fildebrandt bitterly declared: “Politics is full of bullshit.”
He was so heartbroken by the astounding news Mr. Kenney might prefer a capable and politically presentable woman like UCP Deputy Leader Leela Aheer for the nomination in what was left of his old riding that “I pretty much locked myself in my apartment with scotch for a few weeks.” He went on for the benefit of the wondering press: “I didn’t even pay a parking ticket I had.” (Now there’s a surprise!)
He accused the impartial Electoral Boundaries Commission of scheming against him. He said he’d been approached to join the Alberta Party. The Alberta Party swiftly fired off a Tweet of denial.
Readers will get the picture. You just can’t make this stuff up. Mr. Fildebrandt thinks he’s starring in a movie. He doesn’t seem to realize it’s a comedy, a dark one that’s going direct to video.
To put this in cosmic context, Mr. Fildebrandt is like a large hunk of interstellar ice hurtling toward the Earth. When he hits the atmosphere, sparks will fly … but there will be no impact.