A judge has reserved her decision on whether to overturn a ban that would see Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel unable to run in this spring’s provincial election.
Mandel appeared in court on Friday afternoon in hopes of having his five-year ban lifted. Earlier this month, Elections Alberta ruled Mandel ineligible to run for five years after he was late to file financial statements from his nomination contest last year.
The judge in the case, Gaylene Kendell, said Friday she will make his decision before the end of next week.
“It’s fine. The judge reserved and we’ll get a decision next week,” Mandel said following the proceedings.
“We believe we have a very strong case and the decision will go our way. But you can’t say any more than that because it’s in the hands of the court.”
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Elections Alberta deputy chief electoral officer Drew Westwater said candidates have four months from the time they’re nominated to file financial campaign returns.
Mandel, who secured the Alberta Party’s nomination to be the candidate in Edmonton-McClung on May 12, 2018, missed that deadline.
The Alberta Party leader said his chief financial officer missed the deadline because of an illness.
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Mandel also claimed the documents from Elections Alberta do not clearly spell out the deadline dates, although Elections Alberta said it attempts to make them as clear as possible.
Inside court, Mandel’s lawyer told the judge that if his client remained disqualified, it would be “catastrophic” for the party.
“The Alberta Party will lose their leader for the upcoming election and be forced to replace Mr. Mandel at the very last minute,” Debra Curcio Lister said.
Curcio Lister did not contest the fact the report was filed late, and instead focused on the chief financial officer’s illness and the campaign confusion as mitigating circumstances.
Six other party candidates have also been given bans for late filing. One of those candidates, Moe Rahall, had his ban overturned Friday.
Currently, Mandel is not eligible to run as a candidate until Sept. 27, 2023.
With files from The Canadian Press.