Filde­brandt apol­o­gizes, takes leave as UCP fi­nance critic

Cape Breton Post - - Canada - BY JOHN COT­TER

A con­tro­versy over an Al­berta politi­cian us­ing his tax­payer­funded hous­ing al­lowance to make money took a new turn Thurs­day night with Derek Filde­brandt apol­o­giz­ing and an­nounc­ing he would take a leave of ab­sence as fi­nance critic for the new United Con­ser­va­tive Party.

Filde­brandt started out the day in a de­fen­sive pos­ture, say­ing there was noth­ing wrong with rent­ing out his sub­si­dized Ed­mon­ton apart­ment through Airbnb when he wasn’t us­ing it.

“I con­firmed that let­ting out my Ed­mon­ton home while it is not be­ing used is com­pli­ant with the rules,” Filde­brandt said in an email ear­lier in the day. “Let­ting out an un­used res­i­dence is rea­son­able and a part of the mod­ern shar­ing econ­omy.”

But sev­eral hours later he is­sued a news re­lease say­ing: “I apol­o­gize.”

“Since Jan­uary I be­lieved that rent­ing out my Ed­mon­ton home while I was away was above board and never cost the tax­payer any­thing ex­tra,” he said. “I how­ever rec­og­nize the per­cep­tion that this is not good enough, and have spo­ken with my con­stituents, and they are never wrong.

“I have paid the amount I earned dur­ing those eight months ($2,555) to the tax­payer.”

In­terim UCP Leader Nathan Cooper is­sued a three-para­graph state­ment con­firm­ing those de­vel­op­ments and adding “the UCP be­lieves in fis­cal ac­count­abil­ity and pro­tect­ing tax­pay­ers.”

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