Strathmore MLA Derek Fildebrandt Claims Jason Kenney Told Him He Cannot Run Against a Women

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jason-kenney-Derek-Fildebrandt-alberta-ucpThe video below shows Derek Fildebrandt at the Strathmore on Monday April 23rd, claiming that UCP leader Jason Kenney told him he could not run against a female UCP member:

…What Jason (Kenney) said to me. It’s not about me challenging other incumbents. It was only about me challenging female incumbents… And he said I could run against any other men…  I don’t think it serves women well to have effectively affirmative action in politics…

It should be noted that Mr. Fildebrandt is accused of many politically unsettling problems including:

  • Using AirBnB to rent out his government paid apartment
  • Double billing expenses
  • “Hit and Run”
  • Endorsement of a homophobic social media post
  • Illegal hunting

The Calgary Herald did a good job explaining the details of Mr. Fildebrandt’s ejection from the UCP caucus in February of 2018.  One quote from that article might sum up the situation:

Lethbridge College political scientist Faron Ellis said Kenney clearly sent a message in how he dealt with Fildebrandt that the new party will not put up with “bozo eruptions.”  “(It was) done to show the boss is in charge, and serious about taking full responsibility for ensuring that his plan to not be distracted by divisive issues or loose-cannon candidates stays on track,” said Ellis.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

We apologize in advance for the VERY poor quality of the audio transcription.  It was mostly completed by machine and while that technology is getting better, you can see it has a long way to go 🙂

 

[00:00:06] – Audience Member
What is happening with you in the next election?

[00:00:06] – Derek Fildebrandt
I don’t know; I mean it’s supposed to be up to my constituents but I was informed it’s not. So as you know our boundary boundaries changed for the next election. I still represent Strathmore Brooks until the writ is dropped for the next election. But then when the write is dropped our constituency changes we lose Brooks and we become combined with Chestermere; the new constituancy of Chestermere Strathmore.

[00:00:38] – Derek Fildebrandt
I was informed. I’d say. Who here was at the event we had Jason Kenney at here in Strathmore just a couple of days before the leadership convention.

[00:00:48] – Derek Fildebrandt
Ok a couple of you. In between that event and Chestermere I was driving Jason between events between Strathmore and Chestermere. And you know he said to me Derek you’ve clearly got the support of the riding; you should be the candidate here. And I said I appreciate that but you know I still want an open nomination. I don’t want any favors. I don’t think I need any help. Open nominations are helpful; it keeps you on your toes because we have a conflict in Chestermere. There is another UCP MLA, Leela Aheer, who I’ve got no beef with but he said that she should run the city and that I should run in the newly combined constituency, so we don’t fight each other. I said I agree but that decision shouldn’t be up to her; let the constituents decide. The after after he was elected leader I was informed late November early December that he said there’s only two females in the entire caucus of just over 25.

[00:01:49] – Derek Fildebrandt
And he said Derek How would it look if you one of our only two women lost to a white, bearded, redneck, guy.

[00:02:04] – Audience Member
That sucks.

[00:02:04] – Derek Fildebrandt
You know I said Well I think it’s fair for the leader of the party to reach out and recruit and find new living of women around. We need more women in politics and the UCP in particular needs to get more women elected but that role should stop at recruiting and encouraging and it should not involve trying to manipulate or decide the local nomination contest that the only decide who the MLA in a constituency is the constituents and absolutely no other politician should get to decide who represents the people in Strathmore.

[00:02:36] – Derek Fildebrandt
And that is why I have been todl I am not allowed to run.

[00:02:36] – Audience Member
Is that in the rules in Chestermere?

[00:03:04] – Derek Fildebrandt
What Jason said to me. It’s not about me challenging other incumbents. It was only about me challenging female incumbents.  He said our constituency was cut into 5 different pieces. It was really chopped up. And he said I could run against any other men that we’ve been combined with or in Brooks Medicine Hat. I would be allowed to run there but we had a falling out since then. He says I’m just not allowed to run, period.

[00:03:30] – Audience Member
…So your really kind of banned as a candidate for the UCP in the next election?

[00:03:35] – Derek Fildebrandt
I don’t know.

[00:03:38] – Audience Member
… So they’re not vetting you in the goverment party?

[00:03:47] – Derek Fildebrandt
They’ve said I just can’t run period now. But this all stems from a disagreement over stating that I can’t return to the caucus if I want to continue to represent Strathmore constituancy.

[00:04:04] – Derek Fildebrandt
No. I said I can see no rule in the UCP that says I can’t run. I don’t know what would disqualify me. I can’t think of any way disqualify me. At the end of the day if constituants don’t wnat me, they don’t have to have me. And if constituants want to elect me, they should have every right to elect me, regardless of what any other politician said somewhere else in the province.

[00:04:29] – Audience Member
So do you know if your possible running?

[00:04:29] – Derek Fildebrandt
I haven’t yet, yet. Not to do the politician answer and say I’m talking to my family

[00:04:39] – Derek Fildebrandt
Actually , I am talking to my family. I haven’t decided. I’m talking to some of you in this room who I know very well, and talking to family and constituents about what to do. But I know it’s really been my honor to represent Strathmore Brooks and I love Chestermere and Strathmore. I might have been a strupid redraw by the electoral boundaries commision gerrymandering the whole region but it’s still a good constituency I’m very proud to represent half of and I don’t think that anybody has more legitimacy to one half than the other because of their sex or because you know I’m equally legitimately the MLA for Strathmore as Leela is legitimately the MLA for Chestermere. Representing one does not trump the other. Chestermere is not more important than Strathmore ans sorry to disappoint but Strathmore is not more important than Chestermere. You might disagree.

[00:05:49] – Audience Member
So, so is there going to be an open nomination process you know for Strathmore Chestermere?

[00:05:55] – Derek Fildebrandt
So there is supposed to be on paper. If there will be in practice we’ll see. So Russian had an election recently and they did not stuff the ballots or cheat in any conventional sense but they limited who is allows to be a candidate. So Vladimir Poutin got 70 percent of the votes. And by most reports he did not have to stuff the ballots or shoot anyone to do it. He got 70 percent of the vote. But what he did is disqualify most of the other significant opponents of his next point with the communist 18 or 19 percent.

[00:06:28] – Derek Fildebrandt
So if you know when the UCP was created I promissed many of you. OK who here had a Wild Rose membership before.

[00:06:42] – Derek Fildebrandt
I promised all of you who were involved in the the this constituancy’s grassroots led the unification process. We were the very first. People here stuck their neck out.

[00:06:52] – Derek Fildebrandt
And I promissed everybody here this party would be grassroots. It would live up to particularly the grass roots traditions of the Wild Rose party and the PC’s wanted that too. Promised open Democratic nominations. So if the party is actually committed to the promise it made to PC to and Wild Rose members. If it is truly committed to open and democratic nominations then they should let anyone who can actually win the support of constituents within reason

[00:07:40] – Audience Member
I’m not certain, but I am pretty sure Jim Prentice dictated who was runing the show.

[00:07:40] – Derek Fildebrandt
Yes. Yes so that’s a great point. So if you didn’t here it. In the last election. Jim Prentice when he was elected said open nominations. Its a pretty common thing when you run for leader. Open nominations when you get elected goes by the wayside pretty quickly. The nomination for the PCs in Chestermere got pretty contentious. He had a favorite candidate so he came in and he did not appoint the candidate but he disqualified the only opponent. And well that’s essentially a Poutin style election. You got to elect who won but you don’t get to vote for anyone you want. That’s not democracy. Particularly in a very conservative constrituancy like ours if you don’t get to pick who you want to be your candidate you don’t get to pick who your MLA is and your MLA is nothing more than a party puppet who is going to follow that party whip whenever their told.

[00:08:41] – Audience Member
Jason Kenney is identifying you as the candidate that does not want to run. Which is the candidate he has identified as the candidate he wants to run.

[00:08:51] – Derek Fildebrandt
So our constituancy was, what we lose Brooks then we become merged with Chestermere so we’re about 50 50.

[00:09:00] – Derek Fildebrandt
And he said that he favors her and that. Leela Aheer. Well that’s what he said will happen.

[00:09:16] – Audience Member
Is she going to go forward and offer the same criticism you have offered for the rational of Kenney in this regard. Is she going to stand up for all women and say we’re not going to put up with this. We’re going to have a nomination and let the people decide. Are you going to do that.

[00:09:16] – Derek Fildebrandt
I would hope so I’ve got no beef with her.

[00:09:35] – Derek Fildebrandt
She’s a lovely lady and I’ve counted here as a friend.

[00:09:39]
I don’t think it serves women well to have effectively affirmative action in politics.

[00:09:43] – Audience Member
That’s what I’m getting at. I’m hoping that she goes around with you and both of you …. the nomination process

[00:09:44] – Derek Fildebrandt
She’s refused to speak to me since the leadership election. She’s refused to speak to me about the issue since the electoral boundry commision came out.

[00:10:11] – Audience Member
So its her position that she wants the job and thats that.

[00:10:11] – Derek Fildebrandt
I have always been of the position that we should always have open nominations. And particularly in solid conservative constituencies if you don’t have an open nomination, you are stuck with your MLA forever beacuse what are you going to do vote NDP.

[00:10:23] – Derek Fildebrandt
You don’t have to raise your hand. For security purposes, you don’t have to raise your hand if you are an NDP’r. What are you going to do. You have to have that internal courting democracy. There are alot of strengths and negatives about the American system butmthe great strength of the American system is the primary process.

[00:10:46] – Derek Fildebrandt
You don’t even have to start new parties the United States. If you’re upset with your general party. You can start new and you can challenge the nomination … to take on the party establishment doing that. Thats the beauty of that system.

[00:11:33] – Derek Fildebrandt
… requiring certain gender quotas is driving everyone crazy. A women or man doesn’t want their own person representing us. Period.

[00:11:43]
I spent a lot of time recruiting candidates for the Wild Rose and then the UCP over the last almost three years now and I’ve in particular been trying to recruit women to run because the conservative movement does have to do a better job.

[00:11:59] – Derek Fildebrandt
We have a caucus of 25 26 there’s only two women not that is not enough. But on the other extreme you’ve Justin Trudeau that appoints a cabinet to be 50/50 gender balanced just because. Even though they’ve got 4 time as many men elected as women. Are you telling me that everybody is there because of merrit. Of course not. And there’s alot of reason that go into it. They build race and religion and geography and gender it’s one of many things they bake into how they make a federal cabinet. Competency is generally very far down the list and that goes to conservative and liberal governments. But I think that at least in theory especially as conservatives that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard that who is in cabinet should be based on merit and who was elected or nominated in the constituancy is based on who’s got the actual support of the grass roots members and nothing else.

[00:12:56] – Audience Member
…Kenney is willing to lose Strathmore Books, Strathmore Chestermere because he wants to run a women.

[00:13:05] – Derek Fildebrandt
Look, I want to see more women but I don’t think. I don’t want see

[00:13:09] – Audience Member
… stand here… it doesn’t matter to me whether you are a man or a women as long as you are representing my interests here.

[00:13:17] – Derek Fildebrandt
Yeah. I agree.

[00:13:21] – Derek Fildebrandt
It’s to be determined how strickly the parties going to hold to that because that is not what I was told.

[00:13:24] – Audience Member

[00:13:31] – Derek Fildebrandt
There are a couple of options ahead.

[00:13:35] – Derek Fildebrandt
You will be the very first to know. I do want to here from you guys want your feedback about what should happen.

[00:13:43] – Derek Fildebrandt
There are a lot of options available but it is not a meeting about the next election but I’ll still. Very happy to answer all your questions about that.

[00:13:55] – Derek Fildebrandt
But I do want to hear from you about what the next steps should be. I think it is really critical right now in the formative time for the United Conservatir Party that the brass and the elites of the party know that intervention in local nominations to favor one person or another for any reason let alone one as preposterous as affirmative action is not acceptable and that we have to make that very clear. It’s such early formative time in the UCP’s history. Because if they get into this habit now. How do you think the UCP’s going to be after 40 years of government. That’s going to be just as bad as what Albertans got rid of in 2015.

[00:14:38] – Audience Member
We don’t have the option of 40 years .

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