Alberta’s First Black Minister Kaycee Madu Fights Back in Step Back Mode | Mixed Reactions in the Community
Many people are deeply saddened about how Minister Madu was summarily stepped back by Premier Jason Kenny. We understand that some organizations are praying for Minister Madu and supporting him through this crisis.
It must be a very difficult time for the Minister.
In the community, many people are unsettled at the turn of events because he is the first Black Minister and for it to end like this is devastating cruel on the psyche of Black immigrants and people of African descent.
The fact still remains in Alberta that you are more likely to be stopped by the Police if you are Black or Indigenous. You must remember that carding was banned by the Justice minister but in a comical twist, Alberta police are still allowed to stop people and gather information for what’s known as ‘street checks’. This can be for a variety of reasons including “crime prevention” and “inquiring into criminal offences that have been or might be committed.”
On the now cancelled account of Bashir Mohammed, an expert on Anti Black racism and policing issues, he said he didn’t see what Madu did as being scandalous, given the historical relationship between police and Black people in Alberta and the facts that have emerged so far.
“Everything Minister Madu raises as a concern happened in the past,” Bashir said. “It’s clear that there (are) issues with our police services in Alberta.”
“If you’re a high-ranking Black person, then I feel like you’re kind of expected to use your power to push back against feelings of racism,” he added.
It’s one thing if a justice minister tried to get out of a ticket, said Bashir Mohamed, but if that didn’t happen, then he doesn’t see an ethical problem.
Minister Madu released this statement on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
This is Minister Madu statement from his Facebook page:
Many have reached out to me to know the circumstances of the ticket I received and my subsequent call to the Edmonton Police Service Chief, Dale McFee. I have issued a formal statement to the media. The premier has also stated on his planned course of action.
On the morning of March 10, I was scheduled to meet with the media at the Rotunda of the Legislature before Question Period to address their questions and speak to matters concerning the Lethbridge Police Service.
Minutes after leaving my home on my way to the Legislature, I was pulled over by an officer of the Edmonton Police Service.
The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone. I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket. To be clear, my phone was inside the left-hand side pocket of my suit, and I was wearing a winter jacket. I identified myself and drove away.
Later, I spoke to Chief McFee to share the experience I had just had, and specifically for two reasons.
First, due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the Lethbridge Police Service controversy, and in particular given the fact that I was on my way to Legislature on a day that I was meeting with the media to address and answer questions around calls for action to deal with the ongoing issues at the Lethbridge Police Service.
Second, I also raised concerns around profiling racial minorities in the media at the time and wanted the Chief to hear about my own experience. As Minister, these concerns were constantly being brought to my attention. I proceeded in the Legislature with Bill 63 to ban carding, which I tabled for the first reading on April 7, 2021. I wanted to share this personal experience and encounter with the Chief of Police Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.
I want to be abundantly clear; at no point did I request that the ticket be rescinded. I can assure you that I would never do any such thing in my life.
That said, with hindsight now, I can see how that may be perceived. There is a saying that perception is everything in politics, and I regret raising the issue at all with Chief McFee.
I paid for the ticket fully and promptly. In my role as the Justice Minister and Solicitor General, I have worked diligently to ensure we build a province in which all of us – no matter the circumstances of our birth, economic, religious, social or cultural background can feel respected and welcomed. That’s the definition of my own life, and I will continue as long as I have the opportunity and privilege to do so.
Finally, I have always defended the men and women who put on the uniform to serve. I have the utmost respect for them and the invaluable, often thankless role they perform.
With all these in mind, I always hold myself accountable for my actions. I respect the Premier’s direction for me to take a temporary leave of absence pending the outcome of the independent investigation.
But Prof Ubaka had some queries for the Minister:
Two issues with this thread. The first is obvious – it prejudices the independent investigation which the Premier has announced. The second is that it alleges serious police misconduct outside of the study, thus putting pressure on the police to respond.
He also questioned why Minister Madu paid the cheque:
It is also curious as to why he paid for the ticket. That is an admission of guilt. If he felt so strongly about his version of events, he had one solid option: contest the ticket. This would have also put any improper police behaviour in the spotlight.
Even if Madu genuinely felt the police were surveilling him, it is still wrong to call the chief of police to discuss the ticket. He could have issued a public statement about the matter. That would have helped put the issue of police conduct front & centre.
It would have been a big story. He could have said, look, I was on my phone alright. I’ll pay for the ticket. But I’m concerned about what the police were doing in my neighbourhood that early in the morning. Did he do that? NO.