Canada Suspended Alberta justice minister says he wasn't distracted driving, phone in pocket
Cross-border vaccine mandate will further disrupt supply chains, say truckers
Reese Evans said a looming cross-border vaccine mandate is costing his trucking company up to 20 per cent of its drivers. That’s a time when worker shortages have already “cobwebbed” about a quarter of the Lethbridge-area hauler’s fleet that specializes in hauling raw materials between the U.S. and Canada. “There are some major, major repercussions about to happen from this,” said Evans. Starting Saturday , Canada will require all truckers entering from the U.S. to be fully vaccinated or be required to enter a 14-day quarantine. The mandate is the first policy measure taken since the pandemic began that could limit cross-border trucking traffic.
EDMONTON — Kaycee Madu says he understands why Alberta Premier Jason Kenney relieved him as justice minister after Madu phoned Edmonton’s police chief about a traffic ticket.
Madu says he did not phone Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee to get the $300 distracted driving ticket cancelled, but understands why people could have concerns about the call.
“With hindsight now I can see how that may be perceived,” Madu wrote in a series of tweets late Tuesday.
“There is a saying that perception is everything in politics and I regret raising the issue at all with Chief McFee.
Alberta premier says he won't follow Quebec plan to levy fee on COVID-19 unvaccinated
EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta will not be following Quebec's plan to impose a financial penalty on those who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Kenney says data shows the unvaccinated are proving to be a vastly greater burden on the hospital system than the vaccinated, but making them pay extra would not be fair. “If we go down that road, we are completely rubbishing the whole principle of universality of health care, which is why Alberta absolutely will not follow the decision of Quebec,” Kenney said Tuesday night in a Facebook town-hall meeting.
“I paid the ticket fully and promptly.”
Edmonton police have verified that Madu never asked for his ticket to be cancelled.
The March 10 ticket and the subsequent phone call came to light in a CBC report on Monday. Kenney announced that night on social media that he had suspended Madu from his justice duties pending an investigation.
Kenney said the investigation by an independent third party would determine “whether there was interference in the administration of justice.”
It’s not clear if Madu remains in cabinet as a minister without portfolio or is now part of the United Conservative caucus backbench.
Justin Brattinga, Kenney’s spokesman, did not respond to an email request for clarification on Madu’s status or for an update on the investigation. He also did not respond to emails Tuesday asking when Kenney and his advisers were first made aware of Madu's phone call to the chief.
Libel suit against former Nova Scotia premier and justice minister resolved
HALIFAX — A libel action against the former premier of Nova Scotia and his justice minister has ended with an undisclosed settlement. The Justice Department confirmed today the legal action launched by former government litigator Alex Cameron has been resolved. Cameron resigned from his job in 2017, indicating he would sue ex-premier Stephen McNeil and former justice minister Dianne Whalen for comments they made about his work in a trial involving a Mi'kmaq First Nation.
Video: Judge dismisses Shelly Glover's application to throw out Manitoba PC Party leadership result (cbc.ca)
Kenney and Madu have not spoken or taken questions publicly on the matter.
Critics, including Opposition NDP member Irfan Sabir, say it’s clear Madu abused his political authority just by picking up the phone to call McFee.
Sabir said Madu should be fired as justice minister and said Kenney needs to take questions on who knew what and when.
“(Madu) is tweeting at 10:30 at night because he doesn’t want to answer questions about his stories and what the premier and his cabinet colleagues were first informed about it,” Sabir said Wednesday.
“We need to know who knew and why did no one do anything. Why is this coming out after 10 months?
“If anyone knew and did nothing, what does that really say about the government?”
Former UCP legislature member Drew Barnes said Kenney’s decision to leave Madu in limbo is in stark contrast to other cabinet and caucus members, including himself, who were forced out after challenging Kenney’s policies and leadership.
Suspended game in Spain resumes without injured player
MADRID (AP) — The Copa del Rey match suspended after an object was thrown from the stands was completed Sunday behind closed doors and without the Sevilla player hit in the head in what the club called an “appalling attack.” Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordán was doing well but did not play in Sevilla's 2-1 loss to Real Betis in a match that restarted in the 40th minute with the score tied at 1-1 from Saturday. Betis reached the quarterfinals with the victory at home.
“It clearly shows the level of favouritism and cronyism under which the Kenney government operates,” said Barnes, who now sits as an Independent in the house.
“Here’s a cabinet minister that clearly broke a long-standing principle of Westminster democracies all over the world and should have been immediately removed from cabinet for that.”
Madu, in his tweet string, reiterated that he phoned the chief to seek assurances that he wasn’t being targeted by police because he is Black or because he is in a high-profile government position. He said McFee told him that was not the case.
Madu also took issue with the circumstances surrounding the ticket. He said while he was ticketed for driving while on his phone, his phone was in a pocket inside his jacket.
Both Barnes and Sabir questioned what the investigation will be looking into given that both Madu and McFee agree on the salient facts.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Quebec punching below its economic weight, federal officials tell new minister .
The regional economic development agency is the first government department to pro-actively release the briefing binders given to ministers after they were sworn in last October.Pascal St-Onge, a first-time MP from the Quebec riding of Brome—Missisquoi, was named to Justin Trudeau’s cabinet in October and given responsibility for two portfolios, as the Minister of Sport and as the Minister for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.