The View From Here – Derek Fildebrandt’s new political vehicle is entirely ego driven

Tom Henihan

Derek Fildebrandt is back or at least back in the spotlight as the interim leader of the newly formed Freedom Conservative Party (FCP.)

The FCP is the latest incarnation of what was initially the Alberta First Party from 1999 to 2004, then having gone through a number of name changes including returning to the name Alberta First Party, it officially dissolved in July of this year, paving the way for the establishment of what is now the FCP.

Along with being the interim leader of FCP, Derek Fildebrandt is also the party’s only sitting MLA.

Like the party or, more correctly, the one man show he now leads, Fildbrandt’s political identity has also experienced a number of name changes since his election as Wildrose MLA for Stratmore-Brooks in 2015.

What precipitated the name changes and associated decline in political fortunes is largely due to Fildebrandt’s own extreme hubris and poor judgement.

Fildebrandt was an energetic advocate for uniting the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties. However, shortly after the two parties merged last summer to become the United Conservative Party, Fildebrandt was forced to withdraw from the newly established UCP.

His ouster from the party was due to a series of transgressions involving renting his taxpayer funded apartment on Airbnb, double dipping on meal expenses, a fender bender hit-and-run and killing a deer illegally on privately owned land.

On the same day that he appeared in court for killing the deer he was expelled from the UCP and banned from rejoining the party.

While Fildebrandt is fond of making sweeping assertions and mentoring others, when it comes to his own short comings he is evidently a slow learner and though his sins were all of the venial kind, accumulatively they show inherent and persistent character flaws.

Apparently those character flaws are so pervasive that according to Jason Kenny, Fildebrandt “deliberately misled” the new leader of the UCP about outstanding legal issues, a point that Kenny says ultimately decided Fildebrandt’s fate in getting kicked out of the party.

Although Fildebrandt is young enough to make amends and reinstate his reputation, the negative characteristics that have compromised his political career are still fully in play.

Rather than laying low for a period of introspection, growing as an individual and reinventing himself politically, Fildebrandt immediately comes back with the same reactionary, belligerent behaviour.

Instead of recognizing that he was betrayed solely by his own dishonest behaviour he lashes out at the party that justifiably dumped him.

Fildebrandt says the UCP resembles the old Tory Party and he describes Jason Kenny’s leadership as “top-down, dictatorial, meddling in local constituency nominations.”

Kenny responded dismissively to Fildebrandt’s diatribe, declaring UCP’s position very succinctly:

“We are not going to be distracted from our focus on defeating the NDP by a political vehicle designed to gratify a discredited MLA’s ego.”

I believe Kenny is right about the discredited MLA’s ego.

Derek Fildebrandt, unable to get invited to anyone’s party has decided to hold a party of his own, at which, for the moment at least, he plays the role of both host and guest of honour.

Fildebrandt describes the FCP as a party for unapologetic conservatives, libertarians and Alberta patriots.

True to form, Fildebrandt is always unapologetic even when social grace and good judgment might warrant an apology and the “Alberta patriot” reference can only bring to mind Samuel Johnson’s timeless pronouncement: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

 

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