Derek Fildebrandt On Unity
The United Conservative Party is coming soon to a provincial election near you. I love the name and I love the party. It’s about time this endeavour is bearing tangible fruit. Jason Kenney is the obvious front-runner and Brian Jean is the prime contender. However, many people have been wondering about Derek Fildebrandt and his intentions. We decided to ask him. Surprisingly, this is our first talk with Mr. Fildebrandt and he was happy to oblige us with an interview. Here’s a transcript of our conversation.
Hodgson: Congratulations on the united conservative party. What are your feelings?
Fildebrandt: I’m feeling great. This is a historic moment in Alberta’s history. We’re now bringing the two strongest parties together in Alberta in order to defeat the third strongest party in Alberta. By bringing together all conservatives into a single unified force, I believe we’ll be able to not only win the next election, but we’ll be able to erase the NDP from the map and have a mandate to rebuild this province greater than ever.
Will it be difficult to rebuild this province?
Yes. To be fair, our government has been off the rails for a decade. We’ve been overspending for a decade. This government has accelerated things. We’re now running a deficit larger than all other provinces combined... multiplied by four! We’re going to have an absolutely huge hole to dig out of when we form government in two to three years.
I’m originally from Saskatchewan and I came out here as an NDP refugee.
I grew up under Bob Rae.
Really! I didn’t know that.
Originally from Ontario. Nobody’s perfect!
When did you come out here?
Oh a number of years ago, but I don’t want to see my child grow up under the NDP.
It took Brad Wall at least the first term in Saskatchewan to get things turned around. In Alberta, people are unaccustomed to what the NDP do. What do we need to do in order to turn things around?
We’re going to need a very strong first term to carry out a major mandate of reform in this province. We’ll need to balance the budget, cut taxes and make Alberta a business friendly place again. Beyond that, we’ll need to undo school curriculum changes that have been implemented in order to impose an NDP ideology in the classrooms. We’ll need to give this province it’s sense of self back again. It’ll take a generation to dig out of this single term of NDP borrowing in this province. We’ll need a long period of time to restore confidence and fiscal sanity in this province again. One reason it’s so important we build the house of a new party on a rock is so that we don’t just have one good government or one good Premier after the NDP. The Social Credit had that. The Progressive Conservatives had that. Eventually they go off the rails. We need to lay the foundation for a party that can govern for the long term regardless of who leads it.
Is there thought about this? I’d love to see the NDP annihilated forever, but my fear is that we’ll become a two party state and every ten years the NDP will be looking to sneak in again.
Well, never take anything for granted, but no party that has lost power in Alberta has ever come back to govern.
That’s the nice thing to keep in mind.
That’s the thought that let’s me sleep very well at night. If the NDP lose government, they’ll be suffering the same fate as the Liberals, the United Farmers, the Social Credit and the Progressive Conservatives and will never govern Alberta again.
I hope you’re right.
Leadership decision? Any time frame?
I’ll focus on a yes vote for unification, and I’ll make a decision in due course if seeking a leadership position is good for me and my family.
Is the party name firm? I like it…
The members will have the opportunity at the founding convention to change the name if they so choose.
You prefer Wildrose Conservative?
I prefer Wildrose Conservative. I make no secrets about it. I’ve been calling myself a Wildrose Conservative for some time, but you know...I’m quite satisfied with the name we have.
Yeah, I think it’s good.
I think it represents where we’re at.
You can call it anything and I’m going to vote for it.
Call it the Rhinoceros Party! I’m more concerned with the values behind it!
Yeah, exactly. Thanks very much for the interview.
Yeah, thank you.