MLA Robert Fischer in October: there was
absolutely no wrong doing, except my late filing.
©Provost News Photo.
MLA Fischer Resigning After “Technical Error”
. . .almost 20 years of public service

Robert “Butch” Fischer, the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Wainwright constituency since 1982, has announced that he will be retiring effective December 31.

Fischer called The News on his cell phone while driving by himself on Friday afternoon December 20 and after discussing the issue said that he committed a “technical error.”

He said in a prepared statement that retirement is as a result of a request by Fischer to the Ethics Commissioner to review the timing of a disclosure of a business development.

“I along with a group of investors became involved in a real estate development. I signed documents with five financial institutions which inadvertently included the Treasury Branch as one. This was wrong.”
He went on to say that “Legal complications made it difficult to get out immediately. I failed to reveal the investment to the commissioner until I was completely out of the investment. This resulted in a late filing of disclosure, therefore breaching the Act.

I did not obtain the mortgages by virtue of my positions as an MLA. There was not preferential interest rates. The investment has been paid out in full at no cost to the Treasury Branch or the taxpayer. Nonetheless, late filing has caused me to breach the act.

I want to re-assure my constituents that I am completely out of the investment, there was absolutely no wrong doing, except late filing with the Ethics Commissioner.

I apologize for my error in judgement with this business transaction. I have decided to take the high road and retire.
I have spent 19 (plus) great years representing the outstanding people of the Wainwright constituency, many of whom have become my lifetime friends. I’m proud that I was able to help people out and speak for them on many occasions as their representative to the government. “I’ll miss the excitement and challenges of representing a great constituency. I look forward to enjoying more time with my wonderful family, especially my 18 grandchildren, and my many friends, all of whom have supported me so strongly over my MLA career.

I want to sincerely thank all Albertans and particularly those in my constituency for the support and encouragement that they have given me over the years. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be able to serve as a Member of the Legislative Assembly and as a member of the Alberta Government.

The past month has been a very difficult time for my wife, myself, my family and my wonderful support staff. I will retire on December 31, 2001, and look forward to many new adventures in 2002.”

Fischer said in the interview that because of legal complications I could not get my name out (of some dealings). “I guess it’s a good time to retire.” He told The News editor that it’s a little bit sad to go out like this but “I think it will probably be better for my reputation this way. It’s a cruel system there (in politics).”

The 64 and one half year old politician said in one way he retiring on a happy note and hinted that he will not miss controversial issues that sometimes is taken home by a politician. He said he would now finally take some holidays.

“It’s my own mistake, signing a whole bunch of documents. I did it all in a hurry.”

Over the course of his time as MLA for the Wainwright constituency, Butch Fischer has held several key positions in the government including Minister of Public Works, Supply and Services, Minister of Transportation and Utilities, Member of Treasury Board, and Member of Agenda and Priorities Committee. He also served on several standing policy committees and served as Legislative secretary responsible for tourism. He and his wife have five children and 18 grandchildren.

A by-election will be required by law before July 1st.

Premier Klein will announce early in the New Year when the election would be held.

Klein thanked Fischer for his many years of service to his constituents and his province. "Butch has been a thoughtful, no-nonsense MLA who has always fought hard for his constituents," Klein said. "He has been a voice of reason at the Caucus table for almost 20 years, and always was a tough, smart politician. I know I speak for everyone in Caucus by thanking Butch for his hard work and his contributions, and by wishing him and his family the very best in the years to come."

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