Alberta lawmakers close loophole that allowed MLA to rent out subsidized condo

By on September 15, 2017


FILE: United Conservative Party member Derek Fildebrandt  (Photo by Wildrose Caucus , CC BY-SA 3.0)
FILE: United Conservative Party member Derek Fildebrandt (Photo by Wildrose Caucus , CC BY-SA 3.0)

EDMONTON — Alberta lawmakers will no longer be able to rent out their taxpayer-subsidized apartments.

Members of the legislature’s all-party member services committee have approved a motion closing a loophole that allowed former United Conservative Party MLA Derek Fildebrandt to rent out his subsidized condo on Airbnb.

Fildebrandt later paid back the money, but resigned from the party caucus last month over the rental and other controversies.

The motion says politicians who claim money for a temporary home can’t use any commercial service to rent it out as a vacation rental or for short-term accommodation.

United Conservative Party interim Leader Nathan Cooper says he is satisfied with the change, and doesn’t believe the scandal will dog the party.

Cooper says clear rules on such expenses are important.

“This is always about fiscal accountability and responsibility to taxpayers for us,” he said following the vote Thursday.

“It is very important to members of our caucus that that takes place. I think we accomplished that goal today.”

The committee is reviewing other rules that govern the pay and perks of members of the legislature.

Fildebrandt and members of other parties have recently acknowledged that they have double-billed the government for some meals.

The members who have come forward about the meal claims say they have paid the money back.