'Politics is full of bullshit': MLA Derek Fildebrandt
Fildebrandt's news conference Wednesday devolved into a confessional, spiked with flashes of bitterness
Embattled Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt says he was "devastated" after United Conservative leader Jason Kenney said he couldn't run for the nomination in the newly redrawn constituency of Chestermere-Strathmore.
"I pretty much locked myself up in my apartment with scotch for a few weeks," Fildebrandt told reporters at the Alberta legislature Wednesday.
"I was pretty depressed."
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The crux of his anger focused on Kenney's decree that Fildebrandt should not contest the UCP nomination in the new riding of Chestermere-Strathmore. The party wanted the nomination to go to Chestermere-Rocky View MLA Leela Aheer.
He even accused the non-partisan, independent Electoral Boundaries Commission of gerrymandering his riding and suggested other MLAs rented out their taxpayer-funded apartments to friends and family.
In August, Fildebrandt left the UCP caucus after it was revealed he was renting his taxpayer-subsidized Edmonton apartment on Airbnb.
When asked about Fildebrandt's comments, NDP House Leader Brian Mason replied, "Fildebrandt unchained. What can possibly go wrong?"
Tumultuous six months
In early February, Kenney announced Fildebrandt would not be allowed to rejoin the UCP caucus.
When asked how he felt about being left out of a party he fought to found, Fildebrandt's response was succinct.
"Politics is full of bullshit."
It has been a tumultuous six months for the Strathmore-Brooks MLA.
In December, Fildebrandt was fined $402 for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the owner of the damaged vehicle.
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Two months later, Fildebrandt pleaded guilty to shooting a deer on private land. Less than an hour later, Kenney announced Fildebrandt would not be allowed to rejoin the UCP caucus.
The issue wasn't the conviction. In Kenney's mind, the larger problem was that Fildebrandt failed to tell him about the poaching charges in a conversation in late November.
In a news release, Kenney said Fildebrandt "deliberately misled" him.
"Neither I nor our caucus can have confidence in the veracity of his undertakings to us," Kenney said in his statement.
Fildebrandt said during his news conference that he had been approached to join the Alberta Party, adding he didn't think it was a good fit for his conservative beliefs.
The statement prompted a curt denial from the party through its Twitter account.
"No authorized Alberta Party individual has spoken to Derek Fildebrandt and no one will be authorized to speak to him in the future," the tweet said.
Alberta Party house leader Greg Clark concurred with the sentiment expressed in the tweet when asked about Fildebrandt's claim.
"Definitely not. No. Absolutely not," he said. " I don't know where he gets this from. I think Derek is starved for attention and is grasping at anything he can to pique some interest."