This column is an opinion from Graham Thomson, an award-successful journalist who has lined Alberta politics for greater than 30 years. For additional info about CBC’s Opinion segment, please see the FAQ.
it is the phone call.
it is not the visitors price tag or even whether Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu used to be to blame of riding via a faculty zone even as distracted by way of his cell phone.
it’s the indisputable fact that Madu phoned Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee to speak about his personal visitors ticket within the first position.
that’s not just a slap-on-the-wrist lapse in judgment, it’s a fireable offence for a justice minister.
In Reality, it’s a fireable infraction for any cupboard minister. The indisputable fact that the justice minister is involved makes it outrageous.
Alberta justice minister fined for distracted driving, known as police chief about ticket
now we have a long-held convention in Canadian politics that politicians, in particular cabinet ministers, don’t intrude, and even give the appearance they could be interfering, in the justice machine.
In 1990, as an example, federal cabinet minister Jean Charest was forced to resign from cupboard as Minister of State for amateur Recreation after he phoned a judge in a case involving the Canadian Observe and Field Association.
This recent scandal to hit the Alberta government is all the extra outrageous as a result of Top-Quality Jason Kenney hasn’t if truth be told fired Madu or asked for his resignation.
In a Twitter thread Monday night time, Kenney stated Madu had crossed a line and the most beneficial expressed his “profound sadness” in his justice minister’s behaviour.
However, Kenney has simply asked Madu to “step again from his ministerial duties” and take a “leave of absence” whilst a “revered independent investigator” critiques the data “to determine whether there was interference within the management of justice in this case.”
Madu has been dropped from cabinet but, on the other hand, it seems that he has been dropped onto a trampoline.
Kenney turns out to be atmosphere the stage for Madu to bounce proper again.
you must easily believe an investigation that concluded the phone name used to be beside the point however didn’t achieve the extent of “interference” as a result of Madu didn’t explicitly ask for the ticket to be quashed.
you will have to assume Kenney is treating Madu lightly for the reason that as soon as-and-in all probability-future justice minister is the UCP’s simplest MLA in Edmonton.
Edmonton police chief Dale McFee informed CBC Information in December that Madu had known as him in regards to the distracted driving price ticket, but “he never asked to get out of the ticket.” (Trevor Wilson/CBC)
If Kenney desires to regain flooring within the capital town in next year’s provincial election, it would be helpful if Madu was once in cupboard, now not languishing in political obscurity.
Then there may be the reality Kenney hates admitting that he or any of his ministers have made errors. Just look at how he handled the Aloha-gate scandal a yr in the past or the Sky Palace affair in June or the Devin Dreeshen crisis remaining November.
In every case, Kenney dragged his toes ahead of taking action.
He waited days sooner than booting Tracy Allard from cabinet for traveling to Hawaii over the Christmas holidays; similar with Dreeshen, who was pressured to resigned after tales broke about heavy ingesting in his administrative center; and Kenney took per week sooner than admitting he broke pandemic laws whilst playing a boozy al fresco dinner with cabinet colleagues.
In each case, Kenney and his ministers displayed a shocking lack of judgment. But arguably none more so than Madu.
Then there is the troubling query swirling across the halls of the legislature: when did Kenney discover about Madu’s telephone call to the police leader?
If Kenney knew last March, whilst Madu made the phone call concerning the price ticket, then he’s as culpable as Madu. the same is going if Kenney discovered any time prior to Monday and did not act.
If Kenney — a famous micromanager who has his hands in just about all executive pies — can convince us he did not recognise of Madu’s blunder till CBC suggested it, you must surprise what the heck goes on inside of his executive.
In a Calgary Herald column Monday evening, veteran columnist Don Braid wrote, “the price ticket episode was once well known in cabinet circles and talked about in jocular tones.”
If that’s the case, it might seem no person in cabinet had an issue with Madu’s behaviour. or maybe they only thought he got a price tag, not that he called the police leader.
Alberta Most Advantageous Jason Kenney speaks after the United Conservative Birthday Party annual meeting in Calgary on Nov. 21. On Wednesday, Kenney spoke to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce for the primary time for the reason that start of the pandemic. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)
In that case, we still have the troubling incontrovertible fact that for the earlier 10 months we had a justice minister who demonstrated breathtaking lack of expertise or vanity.
Either Madu had no thought he used to be trampling on political and justice conventions through phoning the police leader, or he simply didn’t care.
Madu is a legal professional. You Would must suppose he knew higher. So, let’s go with vanity.
it’s a trait that fits well into the attitude of a central authority that robotically gaslights Albertans, demonizes warring parties and, in one infamously calamitous case, tossed apart caution and declared July/August of 2021 could be the “absolute best summer season ever.”
Madu issued a statement Monday mentioning he phoned McFee not to ask that the price ticket be quashed but to lift concerns about racial profiling and to verify he, a Black man, was once no longer being “unlawfully surveilled.”
Should a justice minister be concerned approximately racial profiling via police in phrases of systemic racism? Absolutely.
Should a justice minister – who is also solicitor common and therefore accountable for law enforcement within the province – call a police chief to discuss his personal visitors price tag? Completely now not.
Again, the price ticket itself is not the problem. Admittedly, Madu being handed a $THREE HUNDRED price ticket for the usage of his cell phone while driving via a faculty zone is not an excellent look for a justice minister.
But it could have been survivable for a political candidate who admitted creating a mistake, pledging it might by no means happen again and demonstrating that he, like the remainder of us, is not above the legislation.
He did none of that.
Madu has denied the rate of distracted driving, but rather than challenge the fantastic, he paid it a few days later.
Rubbing salt within the wound for the remainder of us is figuring out the federal government is making adjustments to the justice device efficient Feb. 1 with a purpose to scrap traffic court and drive us to pay up to $150 to struggle a site visitors price tag. No, we don’t get to call a police chief.
Kenney reacted quickly after the Madu tale was broken by means of CBC News. However that ignores the reality Madu’s offence took place 10 months ago.
And he best expressed “remorseful about” after the story was public.
Madu’s behaviour has additional tarnished the reputation of a government that has spent a lot of the previous yr bouncing from one embarrassment to the next.
Madu is in bother for appalling bad judgment and hubris.
it’s not about the traffic price tag or whether or not he wanted the price tag quashed.
it is the telephone call.