Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt suspended after 'unacceptable' comment on social media

Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt has been suspended from the caucus after responding positively to a comment about Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on his Facebook page.

Fildebrandt said he 'made an honest mistake' but accepts his party's decision

Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt has been suspended from the caucus effective Friday night. (CBC)

Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt has been suspended from the caucus due to an "unacceptable comment" posted on social media, the party said late Friday night. 

The comment "does not reflect the values of the Wildrose caucus," leader Brian Jean said in a news release just before midnight.

The original comment, posted by another user, refers to Ontario's premier as "Mr. Wynne."

Fildebrandt responded, "Proud to have constituents like you!"

Fildebrandt, who is suspended effective immediately, tweeted about the incident on Friday night.

He said he "entirely misread" a comment posted on his Facebook page about Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, and that it stands against his views.

Fildebrandt released a statement about the incident on Saturday afternoon, saying he accepts his party's decision to suspend him.

"My colleagues know that those views do not reflect my own opinion and they recognize that I made an honest mistake, so I was surprised by this decision. I accept this decision," he said in the statement. 

A statement from Fildebrandt on Saturday said he "made an honest mistake." (Facebook)

CBC reached out to Fildebrandt and the Wildrose party for comment Saturday morning. Party spokeswoman Samantha Johnston declined to comment and Fildebrandt referred the CBC to his statement on Facebook. 

Wynne heckled in legislature

The incident comes a day after the Wildrose party ridiculed Wynne during question period at the legislature on Thursday.

With Wynne looking on from the Speaker's gallery, the Wildrose party demanded to know why she was invited to Alberta while Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was not. 

"Invite Premier Wall here! Invite Premier Wall," Fildebrandt shouted at Premier Rachel Notley as she tried to answer a question.

At one point government house leader Brian Mason looked across the aisle at Fildebrandt and said matter-of-factly, "you are so tacky."

Wildrose party apologizes

The Wildrose party then issued an apology on Friday on behalf of Fildebrandt. Wildrose house leader Nathan Cooper said it was a mistake to insult Wynne while she was a guest at the legislature.

"The questions that we asked were fair, but certainly a more appropriate time could have been found, particularly when a visiting dignitary was not in the gallery," Cooper said Friday. "We didn't have a respectful tone yesterday. We express regret for how things unfolded." 

At the Liberal convention in Winnipeg on Saturday, Wynne took part in an question-and-answer session and was asked whether she accepted Derek Fildebrandt's apology.

"Yes, I accept the apology, but I think it was an interesting confluence of things. There's a woman premier in Alberta and there's a woman [in Ontario]. We're talking about climate change," she said.

"And I think the attack, the viciousness of the attack, had a particular quality to it, so I will just say we need to pay attention to it."

With files from the Canadian Press