Calgary

Freedom Conservative Party promises about 30 candidates for Alberta election

Derek Fildebrandt, leader of the Freedom Conservative Party, says he's serious about offering a choice for right-leaning Albertans.

Leader Derek Fildebrandt says he hopes to offer right-leaning voters a new option

Derek Fildebrandt is the leader of the Freedom Conservative Party. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Derek Fildebrandt, leader of the Freedom Conservative Party, says he's serious about offering a choice for Albertans who find themselves too far right for the United Conservative Party.

The Freedom Conservative Party, which is less than a year old, will put forward "30-odd" candidates for the provincial election, slated for April 16, he said.

Alberta's rights to self-govern are top of mind, Fildebrandt said, alluding to Quebec's separation movement.

Freedom Conservatives would, he said, offer voters the chance to decide "if they want to continue the relationship with Ottawa," should the federal government not "accept reasonable demands for equality for Alberta within Canada."

"We want to be treated the same as… Quebec, to have control of our own immigration, our own tax collection, our own police force, our own pension and EI — and the complete end of equalization," Fildebrandt said.

The provincial election was announced Monday, and the other main contenders — the NDP, United Conservative Party, Alberta Party and Alberta Liberals — all held events to discuss their messages for the race.

'Not running paper candidates'

The Freedom Conservatives were missing from the first day of announcements. Instead, the party has an event scheduled for Thursday in Calgary to discuss platform points.

"We're not running paper candidates everywhere just to have a number of candidates," Fildebrandt said Wednesday. "We want to have people running where we believe they can actually win."

The party has strategically placed candidates in ridings where it believes the NDP are less likely to win a seat, he said.

Candidates will promise to answer to their constituents, he said, and not "other politicians," as he accused UCP candidates of doing.

Derek Fildebrandt formed the Freedom Conservative Party last summer. He says the party will field "30-odd" candidates in the coming provincial election. (CBC)

Fildebrandt will be trying to keep his seat in Strathmore-Brooks, saying his voting record showed he was "the most right-leaning MLA in the province."

Fildebrandt first won the seat in 2015 as a member of the now-defunct Wildrose Party. The party merged with the Progressive Conservatives to form the United Conservative Party, and he stayed in that caucus until 2017. He then left to sit as an independent.

A year ago, he was told he wasn't welcome to rejoin the UCP, and then formed the Freedom Conservative Party in July 2018.

With files from CBC Calgary News at 6

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