I have to agree with Stewart Shields that there are some untidy loose ends left hanging in the Derek Fildebrandt innovative use of the housing allowance.
I believe he was the only MLA from any political party to come up with this "improvement" on the use of the housing allowance. Why he would think that it is proper for any MLA to use the taxpayer dollars provided to MLAs for the purpose of generating private profits that he only gave back to the taxpayers when the social media frenzy indicated to him that he wasn't behaving in a way his employers appreciated--well this is something pretty unbelievable to voters like myself.
Who in their most reasonable mind would ever think that taking a housing allowance that is meant to pay for accommodation for oneself and one's family and exploiting the money to generate further cash for dubious purposes of maintenance and house cleaning---would be the right thing to do?
It may not be a problem for the government of Alberta which appears to be clueless about the housing allowance potential pitfalls but it is a problem for citizens.
We don't like it.
We want the GOA to end the use of the housing allowance for commercial real estate rental purposes and profit.
We want the rules spelled out for MLAs who lack the ethical background to discern without such rules that such behaviour is wrong.
We want the housing allowance decreased.
We want all expenses including housing allowances to be audited and explained so this junk does not happen again.
And we want to know who the big spenders are in the expenses category because if the UCP folks are supposedly fiscally restrained should this not be reflected in their yearly expenses?
Also like Stewart points out here we need information on the Tapcal Trust Fund business that the PCs never yapped about probably because they didn't want all the citizens in a social media feeding frenzy again and probably because they thought that closing the fund would end the controversy. Well it hasn't ended the controversy. The Tapcal Trust Fund in my opinion is an anti-democratic piece of political cunning. It reflects poorly on the PCs. Now the Wildrose Party folks have aligned themselves with the PC folks they need to tell us exactly who contributed to the Tapcal Trust Fund and if they got special favours for their donations.
If the UCP folks can't indicate to us that Mr. Fildebrandt did not do the proper thing by his abuse of the housing allowance, if no one will tell us about the Tapcal Trust Fund and if the Brutus type events of the replacement of the Fildebrandt with the new contender of the Callaway sort are the only sorts of revelations from the UCP well then we'd better just park our Conservative votes with the Alberta Party. Doesn't matter if they are wasted votes. Better than voting NDP and having a sea of more debt in the next election. Better than voting PCs conjoined with the Wildrose folks. Better than repeating the PC error again.
And oh Mr. Cooper, since you don't get it let me tell you what y'all need to do at this point:
1) The UCP needs to categorically state that what Mr. Fildebrandt did was not acceptable and that the UCP leadership and members do not believe this is proper MLA behaviour.
2) The UCP then needs to remove Mr. Fildebrandt as finance critic since he has no credibility and the public will be simply focused on his preaching to us of the look in the mirror sort that we're tired of and compare it to his own poor practice with reference to the housing allowance.
3) The UCP candidates for leadership should go public with their dissatisfaction about this fiasco and then tell us to our faces that they don't support this junk. Or does Mr. Jean and Mr. Kenney support Mr. Fildebrandt in his use of public dollars to make money on the side? If so, let us know now so we can classify this as yet another "lake of fire"issue and run screaming for the Alberta Party.
4) And maybe the UCP leadership should get off their entitled rumps and ask for the apologies of all Albertans for the contempt shown by one of their own. We get it. We just don't know why the UCP folks don't get it. It's a repeat of the Redford error.
5) And that Tapcal Trust Fund business? Better tell us the whole meal deal about it.
From: Stewart Shields <
Date: Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 5:17 PM
Subject: : United Conservative interim leader Nathan Cooper won’t say Derek Fildebrandt did
To: Brian Jean <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, letters <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: brian mason <email@example.com>, Doreen Mueller <Doreen.Mueller@justice.gc.ca>, firstname.lastname@example.org, innisfail <email@example.com>, Lacombe Ponoka <Lacombe.Ponoka@assembly.ab.ca>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Liberal Canada <email@example.com>, Ministerial Unit <MCU@justice.gc.ca>, Public Interest Alberta <firstname.lastname@example.org>, T Banks <>, email@example.com, whitecourt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This type of behaviour must be dealt with swiftly and directly!! Because the rules have never had to deal with matters like this—is no licence to proceed blindly forward knowing or should be knowing that what was taking place was dead wrong!! The more troubling part of this caper is the fact many UPC seem to feel there was nothing wrong in what Fildebrandt was doing!! Do we want to go back to that type of dim-witted personnel in charge of our Government? Nathan Cooper must come out very very clear of where Conservative leadership stand with respect to the caper Fildebrandt was pulling!! We can not allow this to die of old age as the leadership seem to be planning?? Alberta can no longer afford the terrible type of Conservative capers that took place in their hay-day of ruling Alberta, this lack of respect for public funds must be nabbed before we wind up in a situation like the Harper Senate had going—that cost taxpayers millions!!
The UPC must also address what is to become of the secret Tapcal Trust Fund- that has been financing the Conservative Party in a different manner than other Alberta political parties are able to do?? This is another foul smelling Conservative caper that has been around long enough for a Party stating it was to be transparent---secret Trust Funds are not that transparent?? Lets hope Albertans can get a fair shot by this UPC or that they fail desperately at the polls!!
2017/08/11/united- conservative-interim-leader- nathan-cooper-wont-say-derek- fildebrandt-did-wrong
United Conservative interim leader Nathan Cooper won’t say Derek Fildebrandt did wrong
The opportunity is right there, a slow underhand pitch right across the plate.All United Conservative interim leader Nathan Cooper has to do is hit it out of the park.All Cooper has to do is condemn the actions of United Conservative politician Derek Fildebrandt.Just say Fildebrandt did wrong.After all, their boy wonder screwed up. He has digs in Edmonton paid for by the taxpayers of Alberta. But Fildebrandt decided that wasn’t good enough.He wanted to make money renting his apartment paid for by you, me and the family down the street. He put it on Airbnb.After all, it wasn’t technically against the rules for provincial politicians. The rules you could drive a truck through.Fildebrandt made $2,555. What’s the big deal?But it is a big deal.A bigger deal since Derek Fildebrandt has long since cast himself as a tireless and fearless fighter for the taxpayer and the sworn enemy of politician entitlement.The newly-minted United Conservatives want to be seen the same way.But still United Conservative interim leader Cooper does not say Fildebrandt did wrong.That’s probably because, in his heart of hearts, Fildebrandt doesn’t believe he is in the wrong.And what possible morsel of contrition, his non-apology apology and the payback of the money after the story went public, is probably the best the party could wring out of Fildebrandt.You see, even people calling them conservatives, and some who quite like the man, say Fildebrandt is hard to handle. You can’t tell him anything. He won’t listen. He thinks he’s always right. It’s all about him.And besides, he’s got zealous fans who will look the other way or embark on any crusade.So, when the news broke, Fildebrandt didn’t give an inch. In fact, he wanted to take a mile.“Find someone under 35 with a downtown apartment that doesn’t let their apartment if they’re gone half the year,” he told Postmedia.“It’s the 21st century.”Are these other people’s apartments in the 21st century paid for by taxpayers? Didn’t think so.The next morning, in a written statement, Fildebrandt said his actions didn’t break any rules and were “reasonable” and “a part of the modern sharing economy.”He spoke of “the politics of smear.” He said he’d donate the $2,555 he made to pay down the Alberta debt.Roughly 14 hours later, in another written statement, Fildebrandt once again said his actions were “above board” and never cost the taxpayer anything extra.Fildebrandt then wrote he recognized “the perception that this is not good enough” and Fildebrandt wrote “I apologize” and said nothing more.It was an odd apology. What was he sorry for exactly? He didn’t say he did anything wrong.Do most people think he’s sorry? Obviously not.Cooper seems happy with what the party could get.“Derek apologized. I take him at his word. I don’t know that I am in a position to judge the genuineness of someone’s apology.”What does Cooper think of what Fildebrandt did?Cooper says people have the right to be upset and he was upset because conservatives should have respect for taxpayer dollars.But does Cooper believe Fildebrandt did something wrong? What does he feel about the choice Fildebrandt made?“The fact he apologized and agreed to pay the proceeds back is exactly what needed to happen,” says Cooper.But doesn’t Cooper think it’s important to condemn Fildebrandt’s actions?All together now. One and a two and a three …“I think it was important for him to apologize, which he did. I think it was important to pay the money back.”We get that. We really get that.But does Cooper think what Fildebrandt did was wrong?“The public have decided. I don’t think it takes me to say something on whether or not it was right or wrong.”No, you’re only the interim leader of the party whose banner Fildebrandt carries.Well, for Cooper, what does Fildebrandt have to do to get back in the good books?He says it’s up to Albertans to decide.Right now, Fildebrandt is on a vacation. Stop with those Airbnb jokes already.He will be taking a leave of absence from his position as a finance critic for the party. The United Conservatives don’t even have the guts to say he was relieved of those duties.Another try. Does this Fildebrandt yarn give conservatism a black eye for the moment?It’s tough for Cooper to say.“It’s important Albertans know the United Conservative party is a principled, unified and compassionate party that takes respect for taxpayer dollars seriously.”Seriously?On Twitter: @sunrickbell