Friday Focus: Injustice and Inflation

Ministerial Misfire

This week’s most-discussed political story was the revelation Justice Minister Kaycee Madu called Edmonton’s chief of police about a distracted driving ticket he received. Both the minister and the chief deny that Madu asked for the ticket to be cancelled with Madu claiming the call was about racial profiling and the surveillance of politicians. Both could be telling the truth. But that’s not the point. Madu’s conduct crossed the line and is completely improper. Forgiving this indiscretion undermines the impartial administration of justice and sets a precedent for ministers to interfere with public officials. As Justice Minister, Madu’s action is all the more egregious. 

I recognize how serious racial profiling and other forms of systemic racism are. The Alberta Liberals were the only party to discuss systemic racism and carding during the 2019 election and leader’s debate. I was proud we took a stand on those issues, even when it wasn’t politically convenient. However, no matter the reasons, as Justice Minister Madu called the Chief of Police about an active charge that he was directly and personally involved in. 

As important as it is to end systemic racism, it is also essential to maintain the impartiality of our legal system. Furthermore, more than most other Albertans, Madu has other means to tackle racism in the legal system. He is the Minister of Justice and has the power to enact meaningful policy changes. There was no need for a personal phone call related to a personal issue.

Madu must resign as Alberta’s Justice Minister.  If he is unwilling to do so, then Premier Kenney must ask Madu to step down. There is no middle ground here.

Scourge of Inflation

If the trials of COVID-19 weren’t enough already, Albertans are now feeling the crunch of inflation. Spurred by global supply line disruptions, Alberta's consumer price index has risen by 4.8%. As a result, Albertans are paying more for everything, including essential goods. Unfortunately, the policy tools available for addressing inflation are limited, especially for provincial governments.

However, one way provincial governments can mitigate the sting of inflation is with anti-poverty measures. Because individuals in lower-income brackets lack disposable income, they feel the crunch of inflation worst of all. Anti-poverty advocates are rightly calling on the government to adjust our income support programs to match inflation and increase investment in affordable housing. I support these measures and will be encouraging these and other policies to help ease the burden of high inflation on vulnerable Albertans. An Alberta Liberal government would not only talk about them but implement them. This is why Alberta needs Liberals in the legislature.

 

I want to wrap up this week’s Friday Focus by inviting you to a special event. Next Wednesday, we’ll be hosting a virtual event to remember the life and career of former Liberal MLA Sheldon Chumir on the 30th anniversary of his passing. Chumir was a dedicated MLA and a strong advocate for human rights, ethics in leadership and public education. Joining us for the event will be Chumir’s former colleague in the Legislature, retired Senator Grant Mitchell. I’m very excited to celebrate the life of such an accomplished Liberal, and I hope you’ll join Senator Mitchell and me in honouring his legacy.