Derek Fildebrandt has arguably been the most newsworthy Albertan of the past 24 hours. The revelation that he has been subletting his luxury, taxpayer-funded, downtown Edmonton apartment while claiming the maximum allowable (of nearly $2000 a month) has rightfully incensed the general public.
This is the type of stuff that a political opponent, and communications person like me dreams of every day (or fears one of our representatives being on the offending side of).
Needless to say, the Alberta Party has been making hay on this; Party Leader Greg Clark fought at the start of his term as an MLA to have the rules amended so that you didn’t get the maximum by default, potentially a $10,000 tax free bonus for some people. He was successful in achieving a rule change that said you could only claim what your actual expenses were up to the yearly maximum that had been in place prior (approximately $23,000 per year).
What’s extremely curious is that there’s been total silence from the leaders of both the Alberta Liberals and the Alberta NDP.
As one of the NDPs most strident (and while belligerent), effective opposition voices – you would think Premier Rachel Notley and Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman would be going to town on the first legitimate opportunity to hold their prime agitator to account for something besides being obnoxious.
My question is why aren’t they?
Alberta Party leader Greg Clark has called for a full audit of MLA expenses.
My guess is that a part of the reason that you’re not seeing as much attention from within the Legislature as you are outside (Nearly two full hours of Ryan Jespersen’s show on 630 CHED was dedicated to the topic) is that there’s more than one party that may be guilty of taking eggs from the golden goose.
One thing is certain, this summer of politics in Alberta has been anything but quiet. It’ll be interesting to see how the next several weeks and months play out. If I was a betting man, I’d say there are so many more layers to this onion.
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