Derek Fildebrandt speaks in Strathmore, Alta., on Jan.26, 2015.

Alberta MLA resigns from UCP caucus

Alberta MLA resigns from UCP caucus

EDMONTON — A member of Alberta’s new United Conservative Party has quit caucus after repeatedly making headlines in recent days for his conduct.

“I have made honest mistakes – always doing what I believed was best at the time – and I accept responsibility, and am truly sorry,” Derek Fildebrandt said Tuesday night in an email.

“As media attention now passes from public issues to private issues, taking responsibility is not enough, and so I have submitted my resignation from the UCP Caucus to our Interim Leader Nathan Cooper.”

Last week Fildebrandt took a leave of absence from his job as UCP finance critic after news surfaced that he was renting his taxpayer-funded apartment out through Airbnb.

On Monday he took responsibility for double-billing the government for some meals.

On Tuesday the CBC reported that Fildebrandt was charged by Edmonton police last year with leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the owner of the damaged vehicle.

Fildebrandt said he has worked too hard to help morph the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties together to allow his actions to shift the focus away from the UCP, including it leadership race.

“This young party cannot afford to be distracted from the formative period that it is in right now as we come together as conservatives. I owe that to my colleagues, my party members, my constituents, and all Albertans,” he said.

“Right now, media controversy is distracting from the work that must be done as the UCP is founded. The UCP Leadership race should be focused on issues of leadership and values, and not on personalities.”

Fildebrandt said he will strive to improve and will never stop fighting for Albertans.

“I’m a flawed man, and I can do better. If I have let anyone down, know that I have let myself down, and I will prove that I am the man that I hold as the standard for trust and integrity.”

On Monday, UCP interim leader Nathan Cooper said Fildebrandt’s expense claims were a concern and appeared to be part of a larger pattern of behaviour that is unacceptable for a member of the caucus.

Cooper issued his own statement Tuesday night saying that he accepts his colleague’s decision to step down.

“Earlier this evening Derek Fildebrandt tendered his resignation from the UCP Caucus. I have accepted that resignation,” Cooper said in a statement.

“If Derek can live up to the expectations he has outlined in his statement, to the satisfaction of the UCP caucus and to Albertans, there would be consideration for a future path for him back to the UCP caucus.”

Fildebrandt, the member of the legislature for Strathmore-Brooks, has been a staunch and vocal critic of the NDP government’s financial performance.

He launched a group called United Liberty to advocate for the recent merger of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties.

The United Liberty website says he once served as the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and led the fight against former Alberta premier Alison Redford government’s deficit budgets and abuse of taxpayers’ money.

John Cotter, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Red Deer’s Ten Thousand Villages to close in 2018

This will be the last Christmas for Red Deer’s Ten Thousand Villages.… Continue reading

Celestial light show can be seen over Red Deer this week

Local students stay up to watch the meteor shower

Businesses to gather to talk about crime

Red Deer Downtown Business Association understands challenges

Red Deer RCMP make numerous arrests in covert stolen vehicle operation

Eight people facing 34 charges after four-day police operation last week

Watch: Man plays flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle in a ‘Star Wars’ costume

The sight of Darth Vader, riding a unicycle and playing flaming bagpipes,… Continue reading

Dying man’s wish to see new ‘Star Wars’ movie coming true

A dying man’s wish to see the new “Star Wars” movie is… Continue reading

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Trudeaus, Mulroneys, Erdem? Canadians who could snag a royal wedding invite

Save the date. Kensington Palace announced Friday that Prince Harry and Meghan… Continue reading

More to be done to ensure timely justice, retiring Beverley McLachlin says

Canada’s retiring top judge says more must be done to ensure the… Continue reading

Labrador mayor who was shot in face in hunting accident has died

John Hickey accidently shot himself while checking rabbit snares

Shelter dogs could go vegan in Los Angeles

Los Angeles may soon be home to a lot more vegan dogs.… Continue reading

The coolest way to serve coffee at dinner’s end

I can put together a decent dinner party. But when it comes… Continue reading

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

One of the thousands of firefighters battling a series of wildfires across… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month