Saskatoon’s latest mayoral candidate continues to allegedly accept money as a self-described advocate for justice, despite a judge telling him not to.
Mark Zielke, who formally launched his campaign outside a downtown business Friday, said it’s his job to “stand beside and walk beside those who are falling through the cracks.”
Last summer, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled Zielke is not allowed to charge for legal advice without holding a licence to practice. The Law Society of Saskatchewan brought the challenge before the courts.
“The law society has an important role in protecting the public from the activities of unlicensed and unregulated persons holding themselves out to be lawyers and paralegals,” said the law society’s Timothy F. Huber last August.
At the time, Zielke told Global News he didn’t practice law or have any training.
“I help people in a myriad of different legal situations and also help them with good advice,” Zielke said Friday.
The candidate told media he has appealed the decision, but hasn’t received a scheduled date for his case to be heard in the higher court.
Zielke said his clients include new Canadians and those who can’t afford a lawyer. He accepts a “nominal fee” when he chooses, and volunteers on other occasions, he said.
Asked by Global News why a client would choose an advocate for justice over Legal Aid, Zielke answered by asking “how many people who apply to Legal Aid actually get helped?”
During his mayoral announcement, Zielke said Saskatoon faces an “epidemic of poverty, homelessness, addictions and mental health problems.”
He said, if elected, he will seek an analysis of every city department’s budget and specifically pointed to the police budget. He also took aim at the city’s “mega projects.”
“Why are taxpayers stuck with burden of the Remai Modern? Will the new library proposal bleed us dry?” he asked.
Zielke said he has five alternate locations to propose for The Lighthouse Supported Living facility. He also wants to see the downtown bus mall moved because it has turned 2nd Avenue from a “prestigious area to a ghetto.”
In the 2016 civic election, Zielke ran to represent Ward 2 on city council. He received 8.5 per cent of the vote and finished third.
Zielke joins five other people running to be mayor of Saskatoon. Besides incumbent mayor Charlie Clark, former mayor Don Atchison is also running, along with former provincial cabinet minister Rob Norris, civil engineer Zubair Sheikh, and self-employed planner Cary Tarasoff.
Norris is campaigning against what he calls a “gold plated” new library, and Tarasoff has also criticized the plan. Atchison says the new library may be too far advanced to stop, but is promising to reign in city spending, with no tax increase next year. Sheikh is also campaigning against what he considers high spending by city council.
— With files from Brittney Matejka