Kenney declines to comment on Cabinet minister praising ‘freedom convoy’ protesters – Reuters


Alberta Premier Jason Kenney refuses to weigh in on one of his ministers who praises protesters and “freedom convoys” fighting COVID-19 restrictions.

“I actually don’t watch Twitter,” Kenney said, speaking to reporters in Toronto on Wednesday, while launching a new ad campaign to entice more Canadians to move to Alberta.

“If you want to hear (Labour) Minister (Kaycee) Madu’s perspective or clarification from him, I suggest you talk to him.”

Madu made the comments on Twitter on Tuesday, reacting to news that the federal government is debating whether to renew COVID-19 vaccination mandates and mandatory random testing for travelers when those rules expire at the end of the month. .

“It (the list of restrictions) was never about science but about political control and power,” Madu tweeted.

“Thank you to all these citizens, convoys of freedom, who had the courage to mobilize against these tyrannical policies. They have endured a lot (of) hate (and) abuse, suffered and been reviled on behalf of all of us. I thank them!”

Madu’s office did not respond to an interview request.

He has served in cabinet since the Kenney government began in 2019 in three portfolios: municipal affairs, justice and now labor.

Madu became Minister of Labor in late February when Kenney removed him from the justice portfolio after an independent report determined that Madu had tried – but failed – to interfere in the administration of justice by appealing the Edmonton Police Chief to complain about a traffic ticket.

Alberta had its own COVID-19 restrictions, collection limits and vaccination mandates during the pandemic.

As justice minister in May 2021, Madu, who is also a lawyer, told reporters that although he does not lead police and prosecutors, “I expect law enforcement and the Crown are deploying all the tools at their disposal to ensure public health (COVID) orders are enforced.”

Kenney will cease to be in charge in two weeks, when members of the United Conservative Party choose a new leader and prime minister on October 6.

Madu supports leadership candidate Danielle Smith. Smith vowed to reject all COVID-19 related rules and restrictions deemed harmful to Alberta’s self-reliance and well-being.

Alberta’s main U.S. border crossing at Coutts was one of many sites – along with downtown Ottawa – that were harassed earlier this year by ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters demonstrating against the Trudeau government. and COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

Coutts’ standoff crippled cross-border traffic for two weeks, ending in mid-February shortly after RCMP made mass arrests and seized a cache of guns and ammunition near the protest site .

A trial is scheduled for June next year for four men charged with conspiracy to commit murder at the blockade.

NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir tweeted: “Kaycee Madu must go. He should have been fired from cabinet for interfering with the administration of justice (in the ticketing incident). »

Kenney agreed with Madu on the travel rules. Currently, foreign nationals are generally not permitted to travel to Canada unless they have completed an initial round of approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Unvaccinated travelers permitted to enter Canada are subject to mandatory on-arrival testing and a two-week quarantine.

“It’s no secret that our government has always opposed unnecessary federal travel restrictions, especially those that are still in place,” Kenney said.

He said he and other prime ministers had made their concerns clear to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that there was no scientific justification for the rules. Kenney said Trudeau wanted to be seen taking action against the pandemic.

“It was clear to me from the start that at least this latest round of travel restrictions was political and optical, not about reducing transmission,” Kenney said.

“I think it’s become a huge inconvenience.”

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