Wildrose MLA says he has accepted an apology for a verbal dust-up at legislature

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Wildrose MLA says he has accepted an apology for a verbal dust-up at legislature

The Wildrose MLA who claims he was threatened during a verbal altercation with Calgary NDP MLA Michael Connolly this week has accepted his apology, after watching security video of the incident this morning.

"Michael called me and apologized," said Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt Thursday. "It's time to move on and get on with the real business Albertans expect us to be doing here."

However, it was only yesterday that Fildebrandt rejected Connolly's initial apology after accusing him of raising his fist in a threatening manner just inside the front doors of the legislature building Tuesday after the end of the afternoon sitting.

"No mention of the threat was made, and therefore no apology was accepted," Fildebrandt said in a statement then.

But after watching a security video with Wildrose house leader Nathan Cooper Thursday morning, Fildebrandt said he has accepted an apology from Connolly.

Fildebrandt did not confirm details from the video, saying only that multiple angles of the incident needed to be watched to get an idea of what happened.

"There was a video camera in the area, we've taken a look, but it's certainly not the kind of thing Albertans expect," said Fildebrandt.

Asked what the video specifically showed, Fildebrandt said "you get a general idea of what happened."

But he didn't elaborate whether the video captured Connolly shaking or raising his fist.

NDP government whip Estefania Cortes-Vargas also viewed the video and agreed there was a "verbal altercation." But she saw no evidence of Connolly shaking his fist, or raising it in a threatening manner, she said.

Cortes-Vargas said Connolly's hands and stance "appeared to be in a defensive position," but his arms were never lifted above his waist on the video.

"He turned around, he said something, and he left," said Cortes-Vargas, who stressed it was important to clear up what happened, apologize, and move forward with "respectful conversations."

Fildebrandt said he too is eager to put the incident to rest, suggesting he has been punched in the face "many times" in the past.

"We've got bigger fish to fry than schoolyard politics," Fildebrandt added.

In March 2016, Connolly had to apologize to the assembly after he was seen giving the finger to Wildrose MLA Angela Pitt during question period in the legislature.