Alberta’s Freedom Conservative Party names David White new interim leader

David White has been announced as the interim leader of Alberta's Freedom Conservative Party. Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
David White has been announced as the interim leader of Alberta's Freedom Conservative Party. Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Cam Cook, Global News

David White has been announced as the interim leader of Alberta’s Freedom Conservative Party.

During the provincial election, White ran for the FCP in the central Alberta riding of Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin, where the United Conservative Party’s Rick Wilson was elected and is now serving as Alberta’s Minister of Indigenous Relations.

The leadership announcement was made on the steps of the Alberta legislature Wednesday morning. It comes after former leader Derek Fildebrandt announced in late April he was stepping down as leader of the party, with a desire to leave politics.

“I am excited and motivated to see David successfully elected to succeed me as Interim leader of the FCP,” Fildebrandt said.

“As I have stated last week, it is time for me to step back and allow the party to continue their work of building and growing a movement for Albertans looking for an alternative to this government.”

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READ MORE: Derek Fildebrandt stepping aside as leader of Alberta’s Freedom Conservative Party

The UCP and the Alberta NDP swept the province in the April 16 election, with no candidates from the Alberta Party, Alberta Liberals, Freedom Conservative Party, Alberta Independence Party, Green or Independents being elected.

“With a two-party system now in place, only the third time in Alberta’s history, providing a true unimpeded voice is essential,” White said.

“I will strive to represent the voices of the FCP and the people of Alberta in continuing to establish the FCP as a distinctive, new, innovative and alternative option.”

READ MORE: Alberta legislature will be made up of just 2 parties: what does that mean?

White was elected interm leader via a secret runoff ballot involving three candidates, the party said, adding he will serve as interim leader of the FCP until a leadership convention is held next year.

FCP interim president Stephen Burry said White was selected on the second ballot.

“It is truly humbling to preside over the democratic transfer of power and I am very confident that David will make an excellent chief moving forward as we do the difficult work of party building,” Burry said.

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LISTEN BELOW: David White speaks with Ryan Jespersen on 630 CHED

Before entering politics this past election, White worked in health care. According to his election website, White worked for 13 years as a paramedic, 20 years in EMS and 28 years in pre-hospital emergency services in both Alberta and British Columbia.

Fildebrandt was first elected as an MLA with the Wildrose Party and later represented the United Conservative Party.

Fildebrandt, the former national research director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, launched the FCP in July 2018 after being turfed by the UCP over a number of controversies.

READ MORE: Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt can’t rejoin UCP caucus after pleading guilty to illegal deer hunt

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He lost his seat in the Chestermere-Strathmore riding the April provincial election to the UCP’s Leeela Aheer.

Fildebrandt said in April he would remain a member of the FCP.

“It is time for me to focus on my young family,” he said.

“I will continue to be a Freedom Conservative and will help out any way I can to see David and the party succeed.”

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