Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, said the great English wordsmith Samuel Johnson.
Which brings us to the case of Alberta’s rogue and roguish MLA, Derek Fildebrandt.
On Friday, Fildebrandt held a news conference in Calgary to introduce himself as the new interim leader of the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta.
“I would describe us as an Alberta patriot party, or autonomous party,” Fildebrandt told the Calgary press.
Fildebrandt, you may recall, started his career in the Alberta legislature three years ago as a Wildrose MLA for Strathmore-Brooks.
After a very public falling-out with Wildrose leader Brian Jean, Fildebrandt pushed hard to force Jean out and to merge the Wildrosers with the Progressive Conservatives, under the leadership of Jason Kenney.
In due course, the parties merged and Kenney ousted Jean.
Score one for Fildebrandt. Until, that is, Kenney turned around and ousted him after an embarrassing series of what you might call scandalettes, embarrassing incidents which, taken together, gave Kenney the necessary excuse to bounce his MLA right out of the United Conservative Party caucus.
Fildebrandt has spent the last 11 months sitting as an independent. During that time he redeemed some of his tarnished political reputation. When the UCP MLAs fled from the legislative chamber en masse, rather than debate the NDP’s plan to establish bubble zones around abortion clinics, Fildebrandt stayed in the assembly and engaged in thoughtful discussion. It looked as though he were actually enjoying the independence that being caucus-free had given him.
But this week, Fildebrandt was back with a vengeance, denouncing the UCP as a “vanilla” political option, denouncing Kenney as a betrayer of the grassroots, vowing to make his new party the voice of free and patriotic Albertans.
And what is a “patriotic” Albertan?
“I would define an Alberta patriot as someone who has a strong sense of Alberta’s identity and who believes in a strong and equal place for Alberta in Confederation,” Fildebrandt told reporters.
Well, so far, so good. By that logic, I’m an Alberta patriot, too.
Then his answer got more peculiar.
“Right now, Alberta is treated as a colony in Confederation. Every single province in Confederation except for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba negotiated their way into Confederation as previously-established colonies, before becoming provinces. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were just created by the federal government as colonies and that has created many institutional barriers against Alberta,” he said.
Fildebrandt blamed our colonial start for our relatively small number of Senate seats and claimed …read more
Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics