Stephen Mandel will be allowed to run in Alberta’s spring election after all thanks to a Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta decision issued Monday afternoon.
The Alberta Party leader had appealed an Elections Alberta decision last month that ruled him ineligible to run for five years after he was late in filing financial statements from his nomination contest last year.
Mandel said his chief financial officer missed the deadline because of an illness.
Watch below: (From February 2019) Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel will have to wait until next week to find out if he can run in the upcoming provincial election. He was looking to overturn a decision that disqualified him from running for public office for five years. Tom Vernon reports.
In her decision released on Monday, the judge in the case said she believed there were mitigating circumstances in Mandel’s case, including that he was acting in good faith, his CFO’s illness, the short length of the delay, how quickly Mandel addressed the non-compliance and that the nomination contest was uncontested.
Mandel had filed a legal appeal of the Elections Alberta ruling together with Brian Heidecker, his CFO.
“The applicants submit that the benefits of strictly enforcing the return deadline in the circumstances of this case are minimal and drastically outweigh the adverse consequences of strict enforcement, warranting a relaxation of the deadline to file: I agree,” Justice Gaylene Kendell wrote.
LISTEN BELOW: Stephen Mandel joins Corus Entertainment radio host Danielle Smith to discuss the court’s decision to allow him to run for office.
The judge said the mitigating circumstances she considered led her to conclude she should grant Mandel’s application.
Mandel tweeted late Monday afternoon that he felt “vindicated that the Alberta court’s decision has shown that needless red tape was tying up the election process.”
“Now we can focus on what really matters, working towards a prosperous Alberta,” he tweeted.
Mandel had previously said that part of the reason he missed filing his paperwork on time was due to confusion about the deadlines, which he blamed in part on NDP legislation.
“Having clear financial disclosure for that makes sense,” said Christina Gray, Alberta’s minister for democratic renewal, last month.
“I understand that Elections Alberta communicated very clearly to all candidates and campaigns about the changes and about their deadlines.”
While speaking to reporters on Monday, Mandel blamed the NDP government for his problems with Elections Alberta.
“This legislation was draconian, undemocratic and very vindictive,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we need to have a government that’s going to be reflective of what we need in this province, somebody who has some vision, some creativity, and that’s not what’s happening now and this legislation is typical of it.”
LISTEN BELOW: Stephen Mandel joins Corus Entertainment radio host Zack Hewitt to discuss the judge’s decision to allow him to run and a vaccination-related promise.
Mandel said the ordeal showed him the importance of patience and letting the legal system do its job.
“At the end of the day, that’s what the NDP didn’t count on, that the court system would be fair and equitable,” he said.
When asked how he thought the paperwork ordeal may affect the way people view him and his party, Mandel suggested to reporters that it actually helped the Alberta Party.
“I don’t think it’s impacted us at all,” he said. “It’s got our name out even more than ever before.
“I think it has no impact, other than we’ve gotten a fair amount of publicity over it, which has helped.”
Just three days ago, several other Alberta Party candidates were cleared to run in the election following legal decisions overturning their five-year ban on running, also for being late to file financial statements from their nomination contests last year.
Read the judge’s decision in its entirety below.