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.

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  1. “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.” That is brilliant. Perhaps “interstellar blue ice” may have been more accurate, but, still, brilliant line.

    The other issue that no one mentions is that the Alberta Party did not say that no one was authorized to talk to Mr. Fildebrandt about joining the party – rather, they said no authorized @AlbertaParty individual has spoken to Derek Fildebrandt and no one will be authorized to speak to him in the future. The man is not only unwelcome- he is officially being shunned.

  2. If there is a good side to this Fildebrandt debacle it’s that he will forever be viewed as a former Wildrose/UCP member, a constant reminder to Alberta voters how bereft of political dignity and acumen this newly-merged party really is when you actually drill down — despite his removal from the UCP for issues that were only made public because of intrepid media exposure.

    His role now is to serve as Jason Kenney’s trial balloon — fomenting outrageous libertarian-like shadow budgets and private members bills to determine what might conceivable stick politically. That will become his role in the new merged party, albeit from a surreptitious distance as not to arouse too much suspicion.

    If you believe the UCP has cut ties completely with Derek Fildebrandt, I’ve got a pipeline to tidewater I can sell you. Otherwise why would an embarrassed, churlish, has-been MLA, who has long passed his “best before”, date still stick around? Think about it.

    1. Act of desperation in my own insignificant view. I seriously doubt he can recover from this. Give him credit in trying I do, but the guy is lost. The public voter and msn never forget and love to bring up the past regardless of anything for the sake of ratings. And we as a people of the 21st century absolutely LOVE to criticize without acknowledging our own shortcomings….and we ALL have them. He needs to just leave and suck it up as a life experience.

      1. Yes, the problem with Fildebrandt is the vindictiveness of the public voter and msn. Clearly, with regard to Mr. Fildebrandt we should all be looking at our own shortcomings rather than his. We won’t have him to kick around anymore. Truly, a misunderstood giant of statecraft.

  3. David has listed multiple legitimate reasons for Jason Kenney to banish Derek Fildebrandt, and I have to wonder if Kenney is very thankful for every one of them. Let us not forget the way Fildebrandt embarrassed the Wildrose Party with his offensive comments to Kathleen Wynne in the legislature, and his approving response to one of his constituents’ homophobic tweet about the Ontario premier. They were enough to make then-leader Brian Jean suspend Fildebrandt, but apparently not enough to prevent Fildebrandt’s supporters from turning against Brian Jean. How fortunate for Jason Kenney that Derek Fildebrandt provided a much stronger case for dismissal.

    When discussing which MLA would run in the new, redrawn riding, that both Fildebrandt and Leela Aheer could lay claim to, Jason Kenney pointed out that Ms. Aheer lives in the riding and Fildebrandt lives on the west side of Calgary. Assuming this is true, it was pretty unrealistic for DF to get upset that he was the odd man out. This again speaks to our blogger’s claim that it is ‘all about Derek’.

  4. Thirty-two years old and an unemployable has-been. Hands up anyone who thinks he’ll win re-election as an independent? I don’t. His best bet is to go federal and yet I’m pretty sure Martin Shields has a lock on that nomination after winning in 2015 with 77% of the vote.

    By the way, when he was locked in his apartment with scotch, did he have his binoculars too? Hmmm?

      1. That seems very possible, Expat. Rebel certainly rushed to Derek’s defense when Brian Jean suspended him.

  5. While I will admit your theory of Fildebrandt lacking self awareness and going out in a blaze of self destructive glory make a lot more sense than what I’m about to post, I’d still like to share a theory I’ve been mulling over.

    So what if the Alberta Advantage Party contacted Fildebrant, in hopes that having an MLA before the election would lend them some credibility? Fildebrandt, seeing the new party as his opportunity at redemption said he’d do it if they made him leader. But worried about what they were signing up for the AAP asked him to prove he would behave more like a leader first.

    So then Fildebrandt’s recent announcement that he will actually create a shadow budget this year and the bill he is going to table are both attempts to placate the AAP. And his claims that the Alberta Party has approached him is just a negotiating tactic.

    Just a thought.

  6. Oh, Mr. Fildebrandt! If he was in the US, he would actually give late night TV talk show hosts someone to make fun of in their monologues other than Trump. Perhaps fortunately, for him, there are no late night TV talk show monologues in Edmonton or Calgary, so his fall has been mainly a local spectacle, not a national one.

    I realize he feels hard done by, but it would be best for what little remains of his tattered image and any dignify he may still have that he keep those thoughts to himself or share only with the closest friends and family. He may feel that how he has been treated was not “fair”, which is probably similar to how many of his victims felt when he was working with the Conservative Taxpayers group and he was regularly attacking the previous government. He went into politics with his eyes more wide open about the rough and tumble side of it than most, so it is even more surprising to hear him play the innocent victim. Also the list of his misdeeds is fairly long at this point and the worst are totally self inflicted, we are not talking about only one misstep.

    It is interesting the Alberta Party, which desperately needs another MLA, seemed quick and eager to clarify it doesn’t need Derek. Perhaps there is some fringe party that might eventually embrace him, but really, politically is that any better than being an independent?

    There is an old saying that you should treat the people you meet on your way up well, as these will be the same people you will face on your way down. Another one is life is full of ups and downs for everyone and true character is shown more by how you handle the downs. I think Derek needs to do a bit more reflecting and less drowning his sorrows or going on to the media about how unfair life is.

  7. “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.”

    Have to differ with you on this, David. It’s not mildly unnerving. It’s hugely entertaining.

  8. I see Derek as the critical inner voice of every UCP supporter crying to be released! Yes the rest of them may remain quiet under the ball gag and whip of Messr Kenney, but we know and they know, that as soon as he gets the Montgomery Burns award for most pathetic excuse for a human to ever become leader of anyone? Release the hounds!

  9. He is right politics is full of bullshit and should be commended for locking himself in his apartment for a few weeks to try and reduce it.

  10. The voters in Strathmore-Brooks will decide his fate. I do not think that Derek needs a crystal ball to figure this one out.

    If asked, my advice to Derek would be to polish up your resume and consider commencing a job search in a different vocation and perhaps in a different geographic area.

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