rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Alberta Party Leader makes flimsy excuses for missing election deadline

Stephen Mandel regrets. Photo: David J. Climenhaga.

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel now says he regrets missing the deadline for filing his nomination candidate expense paperwork, but nevertheless expects the courts to make the problem go away.

Well, good luck with that.

He blames a retired party financial functionary for the filing fiasco that resulted in six Alberta Party candidates, including himself, being banned from running for public office in Alberta for five years. ("My CFO was sick. He missed some dates.")

For heaven's sake, this is embarrassing!

Maybe the time really has come for Mandel to retire. For that matter, the same point could be made about the whole long, twisty-turny Alberta Party experiment -- which started out as just another Alberta right-wing fringe party, joined a province-wide political discussion club run by disillusioned Alberta Liberals to become an aspiring political movement slightly to the left of centre, and eventually was wrested back to the right by a group of supposed Red Tories led by Mandel.

Now this! Me, I miss the days in 2011 when Sue Huff was interim leader of the party and could mount the stage with her guitar and sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow in a sweet soprano voice with a straight face and without anyone breaking into guffaws. Turns out that was the high point of Alberta Party history! Who knew?

So, while this might mean Mandel ends his long political career on a sour note -- if, indeed, that is what happens -- it may be an opportunity to put the little party that never quite grew out of its misery. The events of the past few hours certainly can't be described as a bravura performance for the party in general, or Mandel in particular.

The excuses trotted out for the missed deadline by the former Edmonton mayor and Progressive Conservative cabinet minister at his news conference in Edmonton on February 11 really were starting to take on a pathetic quality.

As a commenter on this blog observed last night: "The 'dog ate my homework' excuse isn't likely to fly for Mandel -- no matter how hard he and his lawyers bark. Elections Alberta is meticulous. They should be when it's the only job they've got to do -- looking after administrative matters surrounding by-elections, elections and referenda."

Well, never say never. This is Alberta, after all, and Mandel is a well-heeled guy with friends in high places. Still, you've got to consider this 11th hour strategy a Hail Mary pass at best.

Wouldn't you think, if you'd received a letter in July saying clearly some routine bureaucracy had to be completed by September 12, you would have done so by then, even if you thought the date was wrong? Mandel's paperwork was filed on September 27, and he wants you to know it wasn't his fault. As the Edmonton Journal's reporter pointed out, that's a four-month window to complete a simple job.

It has never been clear to me whether the Alberta Party was more likely to rob the New Democratic Party Government or the United Conservative Party of votes, or whether even with Mandel at the helm it could do so in sufficient volume to have any kind of impact on the outcome of the upcoming general election.

Either way, it appears as if there is a significant chance that entire matter is now moot.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: David J Climenhaga

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.