Former Edmonton mayor and provincial cabinet minister Stephen Mandel is set to make an announcement Wednesday about the “future of Alberta.”
After a 32-month hiatus from Twitter, Mandel suddenly returned Monday to drop cryptic hints about the announcement, at which one media outlet reports he will declare his bid for leadership of the Alberta Party.
On Monday, Mandel tweeted two upside-down photos: one of a grain elevator and another of typical oil pumpjacks. Both photos include the caption “Jan. 10, 2018.”
On Tuesday morning, another tweet appeared shortly after 7 a.m.
Another tweet was sent just after 10 a.m. Tuesday, this time showing the Muttart Conservatory.
Perhaps the most telling tweet came on Wednesday morning, when he shared a picture of the Alberta legislature. The social media share came along with the hashtag #dreambigAB.
Until Monday, Mandel’s last tweet was on May 7, 2015.
“It’s been an honour to serve the citizens of #yegwhitemud and the people of Alberta as Health Minister. Thank you and best wishes! #ableg,” he tweeted just weeks after the former health minister’s Progressive Conservative government was defeated by Rachel Notley and the New Democrats in the 2015 election.
Global News reached out to Mandel as well as various local contacts, including former executives with Alberta’s now-defunct PC party. As of Monday night, most had not replied and others said they could not confirm what Wednesday’s announcement at the Boyle Street Community League would entail.
A CBC News report says Mandel will run for leadership of the Alberta Party. When asked, an official with the Alberta Party told Global News Mandel has not submitted paperwork to run for leader. They said the deadline for submitting such paperwork is Jan. 15.
In June, former PC party executive Katherine O’Neill told Global News her Alberta Together movement, which she said aims to grow a “fearless, focused and forward-thinking centrist political voice in our province,” counted Stephen Mandel as one of its supporters. The organization’s efforts are focused on building up the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberal Party.
Watch below: Outgoing president of the EEDC, Brad Ferguson, speaks to Global News from his final annual outlook address in the role. He also responds to rumours about Stephen Mandel’s political future.
In an interview from his final annual outlook address as president as the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, Brad Ferguson addressed the Mandel rumours.
“I don’t know what he has in store… but I’m excited to see him come back in.
“He governs from the middle. He’s a selfless leader who understands how to deal with people of all kinds. And, I think in a time where we go forward, that type of leadership is needed, whether it’s him or somebody else.”
Earlier on Monday, Global News reported documents show Rick Fraser — an Independent MLA who served in the same PC caucus as Mandel — has entered the race to become the new leader of the Alberta Party after Greg Clark stepped down from the post late last year.
Watch below: The race to become leader of the Alberta Party is finally starting to heat up. One high-profile candidate announced Tuesday he was seeking the job and there is speculation another big name will announce his intentions on Wednesday. Tom Vernon filed this report on Jan. 9, 2018.
Mandel has kept out of the media’s spotlight since being defeated in the provincial riding of Edmonton-Whitemud by the NDP’s Bob Turner in the 2015 election.
In 2014, former Alberta premier Jim Prentice named Mandel health minister even though the Edmonton politician was not an MLA. He later got his seat in the Alberta legislature after winning a byelection.
Mandel served as mayor of Edmonton from 2004 to 2013 during which time city council embarked on a number of large-scale infrastructure projects and struck a deal with the Edmonton Oilers to build a new downtown arena now known as Rogers Place.