Edmonton

Stephen Mandel steps down as Alberta Party leader

After 15 months on the job, and his party failing to win a single seat in the provincial election, Stephen Mandel is stepping down as leader of the Alberta Party.

Mandel will continue in role as chancellor at Concordia University

Stephen Mandel addresses members after he was chosen Alberta Party leader in 2018. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press )

After 15 months on the job and after his party failed to win a single seat in the provincial election, Stephen Mandel is stepping down as leader of the Alberta Party.

The former Edmonton mayor said he will now focus on his role as chancellor at Concordia University, and spending time with his family.

Though Mandel was unable to win a seat in Edmonton-McClung and his party was shut out of the legislature in April's election, the party lauded his leadership for capturing 172,000 votes in 2019, compared to 33,000 in 2015.

"Its the end of my political career," Mandel, 73, told reporters from his Edmonton office Friday afternoon.

A three-term mayor of Edmonton and former Progressive Conservative health minister, Mandel said he re-entered politics with the Alberta Party because he felt the province needed a different political view.

"Albertans didn't see it that way," said Mandel. "But it's time to move on." 

Former Alberta Party MLA Karen McPherson praised Mandel for his work as leader and for attracting a full slate of 87 candidates for the election.

"It's an opportunity for the party to attract a new leader and to grow again," McPherson said in an interview with CBC news. 

McPherson, who now sits on the Alberta Party board, said despite the dismal showing in the election,the party is still active and members are engaged.

"We have people who ran for us in the last election that are looking to see what's next and how are we going to build," said McPherson.

"We're putting together our strategy for the next four years."

Mandel was elected to lead the Alberta Party in February 2018, beating out competitors Kara Levis, a Calgary lawyer, and Rick Fraser, the Calgary-South East MLA at the time. 

The leadership race was triggered after former party leader Greg Clark stepped down in November 2017, in what he said was a bid to increase interest and membership sales in the party.

He told reporters that a leadership race would help the party reach those goals.

The party will discuss its next step at its annual general meeting, which has yet to be scheduled.

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