Questions raised about Nanaimo byelection candidate Jim Mercier

Questions raised about Nanaimo byelection candidate Jim Mercier

Council observer says voters should know about Jim Mercier’s background. Kendall Hanson reports. 

This property has a stunning view of Departure Bay but the City of Nanaimo is taking its owner to court. The City claims property owner Jim Mercier cut down 41 trees without permission. Mercier has pleaded not guilty and he’s running for Nanaimo City Council.

“Hi I’m Jim Mercier and I’m announcing my candidacy for the recently opened council seat in the July 8th byelection,” said Mercier in a video posted on social media.

Nanaimo resident Terry Lee Wagar believes voters should know more about Mercier’s background.

“It’s extremely important that we know about people’s backgrounds if they’re running for office for council because we want to be able to believe them,” said Wagar.

Before coming to Nanaimo Mercier owned a skydiving school in Alberta. Five people died in accidents there. In 1998 18-year-old Nadia Kanji was killed when her parachute failed to deploy properly. An Alberta judge found inadequate training, equipment and supervision contributed to her death.

The judge’s report was critical of Mercier.

It read in part “…the conduct of James Mercier on the day of and in the days immediately following the accident leaves me with the clear impression that he was going to great lengths to distort the facts of the accidents.”

Jimmy McMaster’s son Stuart was another of those who died while skydiving at Mercier’s school.

“If I was a local resident and saw that name I couldn’t vote for him,” said Jimmy McMaster.

In a statement, Mercier says skydiving is a high-risk sport and “…all our staff worked to meet or exceed exacting standards on training and safety. Still…accidents do happen…”

Mercier eventually sold the skydiving company and began a career in real estate.

In 2009 the Real Estate Council of Alberta suspended Mercier’s license and a year later fined him $37,000 as the result of the purchase of a unit in this Calgary complex by Mercier’s sister.

The Council found “…a breach of Mr. Mercier’s fiduciary duties to his client” by not providing a comparative market analysis of the value of the property or disclosing the purchaser was his sister.

Mercier says “errors were made…This has since proven to be an appreciated learning experience…”

Voters will have the ultimate say on Mercier’s political future July 8th.

Other links to litigation Mercier has been involved with can be found herehere and here.



Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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