It was another Friday night news drop when Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel announced he and other candidates had been notified they would be ineligible to run for election in 2019. A press release stated Mandel and other candidates had “applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench to review and rule on this matter as soon as possible.” A copy of the argument on his behalf was posted Friday evening.
Candidates were notified January 30, 2019 of their ineligibility which got some people talking.
The webpage at Alberta Elections was updated on Friday evening and included six current Alberta Party candidates; Ali Haymour for Edmonton Decore, Diana Ly, Edmonton Gold Bar, Stephen Mandel Edmonton McClung, Amrit Matharu, Edmonton Meadows, Moe Rahall, Edmonton Castle Downs and Rachel Timmermans, Calgary Lougheed.
Three candidates were acclaimed and three were appointed.
Without the usual fanfare for political gossip, this issue has already moved through the Legislature. According to a Party source, the report was accepted by the Speaker on Monday February 4 and presented to the legislature on Wednesday February 6, which allows Mandel and any other candidate named to pursue an appeal. Mandel’s court date has been set for February 22, 2019.
As stated in Section 43 of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA), candidates must file their returns four months after a nomination race is completed. In Section 44, the financial penalty of $500 is discussed. Section 57 of the Election Act refers to candidates who have been deemed ineligible to run. The nomination contestant guide on the website details requirements of candidates with respect to their responsibilities to Elections Alberta.
I was unable to find where it states a late-filing penalty could result in a 5 to 8 year ban on running in any of the respective documentation. It’s absolutely no excuse to miss a deadline that is four months away, but this never-been-a-CFO-or-candidate felt it should have been in bold red letters on every page (or even one) of the nomination contestant guide at the very least.
There is also a question of the penalty fitting the crime. Michaela Glasgo, Brooks Medicine Hat candidate, filed her nomination documents nine days late. The difference between nine days and twelve days is a five year ban? If candidates never file, they receive an eight year ban; not a lifetime ban, just another three years before they can run again. The financial penalty never increases.
Jason Kenney, Alberta UCP leader echoed the sentiment in a statement on Sunday.
Speaking of not filing, another page on the Elections Alberta website lists nomination candidates by Party. It lists the riding, date of nomination contest, and when filings are due. A few names stand out because in place of a link to their documentation is a date – from last year.
Drew Barnes, Cypress Medicine Hat MLA, due October 11, 2018
Jackie Homeniuk-Armstrong, Endorsed candidate for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, due October 26, 2018
Grant Hunter, Taber-Warner MLA, due October 1, 2018
Gul Khan, Endorsed candidate for Calgary North-East, due October 24, 2018
These could be on hold due to errors or requests for information, or they just may not be updated for the website yet. Drew Barnes said he was in contact with Elections Alberta after it was brought to his attention some weeks ago. I’m sure if there’s any issues we will hear about it- on a Friday night of a long weekend.
This post contains more fact than opinion.