On The Other Hand
Derek Fildebrandt, Wildrose MLA representing Strathmore-Brooks, earned a suspension from the party brass on Friday for his homophobic behaviour towards Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne. It seems he was agreeing with a constituent that called Ms. Wynne, Mr. Wynne.
In his apology Fildebrandt said, “I made an honest mistake and it doesn’t reflect what I believe.” Apology accepted.
But that still doesn’t address Fildebrandt’s boorish behaviour daily in the Legislature.
A grade 6 class made their curriculum-based trip to the legislature a few weeks back.
Upon their return, the principal said, “it’s hard to tell the kids about the importance of listening to others, respect and good behaviour in the classroom when they have to witness elected officials behaving so inappropriately.
My question was, “are the other parties equally bad?”
In fact, they are not according to the principal. On balance it was the Wildrose members who were not listening but instead choosing to heckle and speak over the person who had the floor.
I asked what about the governing party? Except for Brian Mason who would send barbs back at Derek Fildebrandt, the entire New Democrat and Progressive Conservative caucuses remained respectful, listened to others and didn’t heckle.
Fildebrandt wasn’t just getting into trouble on social media. He also crossed the line on May 27 when Premier Wynne was in the Speakers Gallery at the Legislature. When Premier Notley was answering an opposition question, Fildebrandt was taunting, “Invite Premier Wall here! Invite Premier Wall here!”
Fildebrandt’s lack of decorum didn’t stop there.
He also took the opportunity to bash Ontario with untruthful rhetoric such as, “Currently, Ontario has the largest subnational sovereign debt on the planet.” Obviously Fildebrandt hasn’t been checking on California’s or Detroit’s financial books recently!
He made other disparaging remarks about Ontario’s climate change policies while Ms. Wynne was our guest.
Although Jean apologized on behalf of the Wildrose Party, and Ms. Wynne has accepted the apology, Jean himself and many other Wildrose members sat on their hands enjoying and nodding as Fildebrandt ran off at the mouth.
It also did not go unnoticed that when the Premier of Ontario was introduced in the House, the New Democrats, Progressive Conservatives and about half of the Wildrose MPs stood to give her a standing ovation.
Both Jean and Fildebrandt and the other half of the Wildrose caucus remained sitting. That is just such rude and inappropriate behaviour towards a visitor.
Most politicians with obsessive ideology blindness (OIB) have come out of organizations or think tanks where they have been able to spout off their one-sided ideology for years without reprimand. It’s not surprising that Fildebrandt’s bio shows his long-term attachment to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
There is a reason why the Progressive Conservatives aren’t jumping into the arms of the Wildrose Party. There is a reason why many people on the right, excluding many rural Albertans, don’t see the Wildrose as capable of governing yet.
Alberta needs Premier Wynne, and many others, on side to get pipelines to tide water. Calgary’s oil executives and its mayor know Notley, through her actions and policies to date, is moving public opinion slightly in a more favourable light towards pipeline acceptance. But it takes deeds, intelligence, patience and tons of diplomacy to re-gain the confidence of other Canadians and the world.
Insulting the very people you need to get a contentious, economic lifesaving pipeline to the east coast is exactly what Alberta does not need. Suspending Mr. Fildebrandt was an excellent first step for the Wildrose Party if they truly want to become something more than a protest party sniping from the Opposition benches!