Merge: Madu’s phone call to the police is reason to shoot from the cabinet

When the politician who is actually in charge of the police calls the police with any discussion of a personal matter, he has made himself out of the job

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Justice Minister Kaycee Madu was given a $ 300 ticket for distracted driving in a school zone. He then called Edmonton’s police chief to talk about it.

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It’s a firing offense. There is no blurring of this red line. When the politician who is actually in charge of the police calls the police with any discussion of a personal matter, he has freed himself from the job.

And yet the Prime Minister’s Office apparently knew about this almost from the time Madu got the ticket, back on March 10, 2021.

The episode was widely known in cabinet circles and talked about in playful tones, sources say.

The fact that the Prime Minister’s Office was aware does not necessarily mean that the information was passed on to Prime Minister Jason Kenney himself.

If not, it certainly should have been. And the result should have been that Madu left the cabinet, if not for the deepest port tables, at least for a junior cabinet role.

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But Kaycee Madu is very important in the UCP world. He is the only government MLA elected in Edmonton, and thus (of course) the only minister from the capital.

Kathleen Ganley, who was justice minister during the year of the NDP government, said no minister in any portfolio should make such a call to police about a personal interaction with officers.

All ministers have a responsibility to avoid even apparent conflicts of interest, she said. The responsibility of the Minister of Justice, especially in relation to the police, is heaviest of all.

“I was pretty shocked to hear this,” Ganley said. “The conflict of interest is quite clear to the facts.”

NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley speaks to the media at a press conference on the steps of the McDougall Center in Calgary.
NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley speaks to the media at a press conference on the steps of the McDougall Center in Calgary. Postmedia

CBC broke the story after receiving the ticket issued to Madu. Postmedia confirmed the details.

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CBC also had an interview with Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee, who acknowledged the call from Madu but said he had not tried to get out of the ticket. Madu, however, raised the issue that colored people were getting tickets. It is a very important topic, but not one that the Minister should talk about with the Chief of Police after he got the ticket.

Madu, because he is the minister, had to talk to the police chief when all the rest of us will soon be deprived of our right to challenge tickets ourselves or go to court.

Do not even think of calling the boss under this new regime a horrible violation of fundamental rights.

Besides the premiere itself, Madu is also the UCP politician who is most eager to form one Alberta Provincial Police Force to replace the RCMP.

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Is that the way control of this force would work? Hope not.

For Kenney, there is also the question of who gets thrown out of his cabinet and who stays.

MLA Tracy Allard went to Hawaii on vacation a year or so ago. She and six other government travelers triggered a huge riot because they were traveling in the light of government advice.

Kenney summarily threw her out of the cabinet. All the others were degraded and punished in various ways.

A sign taunts Minister of Local Government Tracy Allard in front of her constituency office in Grande Prairie on Sunday, January 3, 2021.
A sign taunts Minister of Local Government Tracy Allard in front of her constituency office in Grande Prairie on Sunday, January 3, 2021. Photo by Randy Vanderveen /Postmedia

In November, when Kenney’s office was sued for alleged harassment, Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen said withdrew from the government, recognizes an alcohol problem. He had been mentioned in the trial.

Leela Aheer was dropped from the Cabinet after publicly criticizing Kenney.

Ministers and MLAs can involuntarily leave Kenney’s inner circle for all sorts of reasons. It’s actually quite a revolving door.

If Madu is allowed to stay, it will be both a scandal and a puzzle. Rarely has there been a case that so clearly shows the gap between them and the rest of us.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Twitter: @DonBraid

Facebook: Don Braid Politics

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