Ban boosts Man­del’s pop­u­lar­ity

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - Ban boosts Man­del’s pop­u­lar­ity
Al­berta Party Leader Stephen Man­del says the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing a five-year ban bar­ring him from run­ning in elec­tions has only en­hanced his pop­u­lar­ity and en­er­gized party mem­bers.“Peo­ple are re­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion to the Al­berta Party,” he said in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day. “It has en­er­gized our peo­ple ... I’ve talked to all our can­di­dates and they’re re­ally pumped up.“I can’t tell you the num­ber of peo­ple who have come up to me and said, ‘Keep fight­ing this, this is ridicu­lous.’ ”He said peo­ple are “amazed and shocked” that his late fil­ing of a zero-dol­lar re­turn spurred Elec­tions Al­berta to hand him what he has de­scribed as a dra­co­nian penalty.His case is set to go to the Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 22.Elec­tions Al­berta listed Man­del as in­el­i­gi­ble to run for five years af­ter he missed the dead­line to file his cam­paign ex­pense pa­per­work.He said the rules were con­fus­ing and dis­agrees with the time­line laid out by Elec­tions Al­berta. He plans to ar­gue in court that he did in fact file his pa­per­work within the four-month win­dow out­lined in leg­is­la­tion.The fate of five other Al­berta Party can­di­dates who were also slapped with five-year bans remains un­clear. They are Ali Hay­mour, Diana Ly, Am­rit Matharu, Moe Ra­hall and Rachel Tim­mer­mans.Man­del said Wed­nes­day they are fil­ing ap­pli­ca­tions in­di­vid­u­ally in court.“Each one of them is very frus­trated,” he said. “Each one is a bit dif­fer­ent.”He added the party has of­fered to help pay the le­gal bills for any of the can­di­dates who can’t af­ford the court chal­lenge.“We’re not go­ing to lose the court case,” he said. “Why would we have a con­tin­gency plan?”Demo­cratic Re­newal Min­is­ter Christina Gray said the rules laid out un­der leg­is­la­tion are fair and straight­for­ward.“I un­der­stand that Elec­tions Al­berta com­mu­ni­cated very clearly to all can­di­dates and cam­paigns about the changes and about their dead­lines,” she said Mon­day.Man­del said he only found out about the prob­lem on Jan. 30, de­spite re­ceiv­ing a let­ter from Elec­tions Al­berta last July that spelled out a firm Sept. 12 dead­line. There was also an ad­di­tional 10-day grace pe­riod.The former Ed­mon­ton mayor and Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive cabi­net min­is­ter filed his cam­paign ex­penses for the Ed­mon­ton-McClung nom­i­na­tion con­test on Sept. 27.Chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Brian Hei­decker, who has since re­tired, was tasked with track­ing the ex­penses, which were lim­ited to $10,000 un­der elec­tion rules.Man­del said Hei­decker missed the sub­mis­sion date be­cause he was un­well. Fail­ing to file on time au­to­mat­i­cally re­sults in a $500 fee. But more se­ri­ous penal­ties in­clude a five-year ban for fil­ing late and an eight-year ban if no pa­per­work is filed at all.Premier Rachel Not­ley has yet to call a pro­vin­cial elec­tion, but could have dropped the writ as early as Feb. 1 launch­ing a 28-day cam­paign pe­riod. She is ex­pected to call an elec­tion for be­tween March 1 and May 31.

Al­berta Party Leader Stephen Man­del says many peo­ple are en­cour­ag­ing him to fight the ban in court.

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