Alberta politics is characterized by regular feats of personal excellence. Less than two weeks after the founding of the United Conservative Party of Alberta, news broke that Derek Fildebrandt, one of its brighter stars and finance critic, was renting out his Edmonton apartment on Airbnb at the same time as he was collecting a living allowance from his government to subsidize its rent.
This is extremely good because Fildebrandt, since his salad days with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has been the self-appointed champion of small government and libertarian values. As everyone knows, the only thing better than a so-called guardian of the public purse actually sticking to their principles in any meaningful way is when they violate every one of those principles in the most hilarious and hamfisted way possible by taking advantage of government programs for their own personal profit.
Nothing Fildebrandt is doing is illegal, of course. Nowhere in the rules governing MLA living expense claims does it say explicitly that you aren't allowed to sublet your taxpayer-funded place of residence for private gain, so, really, Fildebrandt was just doing what any other reasonable capitalist would do under the circumstances. Plus, you know, isn't it better that public money is going towards generating more money in the private sector to drive the economy rather than paying for an empty apartment down on Jasper Avenue?
If anything, we should be rewarding this kind of shrewd economic innovation, not punishing it. Fildebrandt is an entrepreneurial up-and-comer with an eye to the future: "Find someone under 35 with a downtown apartment that doesn't let their apartment if they're gone half the year," he told the Edmonton Journal. "It's the 21st century."
Honestly, $80 to spend a night a) in downtown Edmonton and b) in the same bed Derek Fildebrandt has slept in is a steal. The man was practically running a (government-subsidized) charity and you people shut him down. If this is the way we treat business in Rachel Notley's Alberta then make no wonder the economy is in the tank.
AND YET, despite the slings and arrows thrown by the socialist parasites at the Edmonton Journal, Fildebrandt remains magnanimous. On Thursday morning after he was publicly outed for being a financial genius, he has generously decided to donate the $2,555 he made renting his tax-subsidized apartment on Airbnb to pay down the provincial debt. Amazing.
And what have the New Democrats done for the provincial debt lately? That's right: bubkiss. Worse, they've even added to it by spending money on social programs and entitlements that can be easily abused by unscrupulous welfare leeches.
Case closed. When Alberta finally comes to its senses and elects a UCP government in the next election, they can rest easy knowing that the sharp eyes of Derek Fildebrandt will be minding the public purse.
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