Alberta MLA pleads guilty to wildlife charge in Didsbury court
Strathmore-Brooks MLA, Derek Fildebrandt, has pleaded guilty to shooting a deer while hunting on private lands last year and was handed a $3000 fine by a Didsbury court on Friday.
Fildebrandt was hunting in the Sundre area on November 4th and was charged under the Wildlife Act with unlawful possession of wildlife and entering onto private land without permission.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Fildebrandt ‘immediately apologized and said that he thought he had been on Crown land.’
He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a deer and was fined $3000, $2000 of which will go to the Wildlife DNA fund. The second charge for trespassing was withdrawn by the Crown.
Fildebrandt’s lawyer, Dale Fedorchuk, says the plea deal means his client will get his gun back and will not lose his hunting privileges.
Fildebrandt also came under fire last year for renting out his taxpayer-funded apartment on Airbnb and for misusing government funds in claiming meal allowances, both of which led to his resignation from the UCP caucus in April.
Last December, Fildebrandt was also found guilty of a 2016 hit and run.
UCP leader, Jason Kenney, issued a statement on Friday morning and said that elected representatives are expected to ‘show the highest level or integrity’ and that Fildebrandt’s actions do not meet that standard.
“Given this pattern of behaviour, on November 29, 2017 myself, House Leader Jason Nixon, and my Deputy Chief of Staff met with Mr. Fildebrandt. The purpose of this meeting was to question Mr. Fildebrandt on whether there were any other outstanding matters of which we should be aware before considering an application from him to rejoin our Caucus. We questioned Mr. Fildebrandt extensively for an hour. At no point during that meeting did Mr. Fildebrandt disclose that just 25 days prior he had been charged with the offence which led to his Court hearing today.
I can only conclude that Mr. Fildebrandt deliberately misled us in refusing to disclose this outstanding charge. Consequently, neither I nor our Caucus can have confidence in the veracity of his undertakings to us. I have therefore decided that Mr. Flidebrandt will not be permitted to return to our Caucus, a decision supported by our Caucus following consultations earlier today.”
In his statement, Kenney said Fildebrandt will not be allowed to seek a UCP Party nomination and that the party will undertake a ‘process of rigorous pre-screening for prospective nomination candidates.’
Kenney adds that anyone who provides misleading information regarding legal or ethical issues will be disqualified from the party’s nomination process.