Minister Kaycee Madu had a very embarrassing day yesterday.
CBC broke the news that Minister Madu had called the police chief after receiving a ticket for distracted driving. As Minister of Justice, the timing of that phone call is hard to defend even though the issue raised was people of colour being ticketed.
Premier Jason Kenny had asked Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu to step back from ministerial duties after reports surfaced that he had called Edmonton’s Police Chief Dale McFee after receiving a distracted driving ticket.
The optics of that phone call is questionable. We all receive tickets, but we cannot call the Police Chief to complain about it.
Premier Kenney said: “I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.
Minister Madu told me that he did not ask to have the ticket rescinded, nor was it his intention to interfere in the case and that he promptly paid the ticket. I understand that Chief McFee has confirmed that the minister sought to rescind the ticket at no time.
Nevertheless, the independent administration of justice must be maintained. That’s why I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.
In the interim period, I have asked Minister Madu to step back from his ministerial duties. Minister Sonya Savage will act as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General during Minister Madu’s leave of absence.
Details about the independent review will be made public in the near future.”
This was the right thing for a Premier with an approval rating of 26%.
Minister Kaycee Madu is the only government MLA to be elected in Edmonton.
Rachel Notley, Leader of Alberta’s NDP, said on Twitter: “This is a red line. You do not call judges. You do not call police chiefs about active cases. As a minister of the Crown, you do not do that.”
“NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir says, regardless of intent, it’s an abuse of power for any cabinet minister — let alone the justice minister — to interfere in the judicial process regarding a personal matter.”
Prof. Ubaka Ogbogu, a critic of Minister Madu, wrote expressly today on Twitter:
“In any other context, this action demands immediate resignation. The fact that we are getting an investigation tells me that this is the plan. Madu is not going anywhere”.
“What exactly did he want the Chief of Police to do? Give him back the $300? Rescind the ticket? Yell at the officers? Banter carding with him? What was the fucking point?”
“Madu denied the reality of Black people in Canada until he got a $300 traffic ticket. That’s what we are worth to him”.
A reminder Madu is not the first UCP MLA/Minister to use or attempt to use his influence for personal gain. Criticize him heavily for this, but not for being Black. I know he’s trying hard to f— up the glass ceiling he broke for those coming behind, but he wears this one alone.
Minister Madu was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for Edmonton-South West. He was sworn in as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General on August 25, 2020, making him Alberta’s first Black Justice Minister.
It remains to be seen what Minister Madu’s next play will be. What we know is, with the stepping back of a key cabinet minister, the UCP party is in a huge mess at the moment.
Link to previous post: There was pride when I won.