Minister of Education in NB under fire over Twitter thread on how police handled protest | The Canadian News

New Brunswick’s education minister has found himself under fire for a series of tweets he made to the Fredericton police force over a protest outside City Hall on January 22.

The protest, which was against the restriction and vaccine mandates, would take place according to the emergency order. Dominic Cardy asked on Twitter why the event is allowed to continue.

In a series of tweets, he wrote: “Hello! As an MLA from Fredericton, can you let me know how any kind of event is allowed under the Emergency Order, which specifically prohibits them? New Brunswickers have a large amount over the past two years “It seems like one rule for one group, another for everyone else.”

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“Feel free to call me at 238 – ****, but a public explanation would be appreciated, along with information on what other laws are optional in Fredericton if you decide you do not really like it.”

The tweets were the subject of a conversation during a City Council meeting in Fredericton on January 24. The council added an item to the meeting to send a letter to the county about Cardy’s actions.

It called on the province to instruct cabinet members “not (to) try to properly influence policing decisions or … risk levels for citizens and police.”

Mayor Kate Rogers said she was disappointed in the protest. She praised the police for keeping it in check and keeping people safe.

Further setback by police unions

But the setback did not end there. On January 27, the Saint John Police Association issued a letter calling for an investigation into Cardy’s “attempt to influence police matters”.

“On Friday, January 21, Minister Cardy attempted to influence, direct and / or interfere with police operations within the Fredericton Police Force,” the letter reads. Minister Cardy further aggravated his unprofessional conduct by publicly attacking Fredericton police officers assigned to the supervisory duties associated with “a protest”.

Cardy has reportedly tried to speak to Fredericton’s deputy police chief, Martin Gaudet, who was also confirmed in a letter from the Fredericton Police Force’s union.

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Bob Davidson, a labor analyst at the organization, said Cardy should not be in the cabinet because keeping him there is an inconvenience to the prime minister and the public.

“He’s talking to the deputy chief as cabinet minister and trying to influence what Fredericton police were trying to do is completely out of line,” he said in a telephone interview on Monday. “It’s interference with police operations and that’s why there is a separation – politics and law.”

The Saint John Police Association was not the only union to speak out against Cardy. The Fredericton Police Association has requested that Cardy be removed from the cabinet altogether.

“To be clear, it is completely inappropriate and inappropriate of any member of the cabinet to try to use their position of power to target and / or intimidate municipal officials,” reads a letter from Peter Dawson, a legal representative of the association.

The two unions were joined in the call for his removal by People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin.

“This is not the first time he has incited a tense situation, as it is related to COVID with his arrogant and foolish exchanges on Twitter,” Austin said in an email statement Monday. “His bombastic method is counterproductive to raising vaccine rates and is causing moderates to turn against the government’s COVID policy.”

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The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development on Monday declined to comment, saying the request had nothing to do with the department, and did not provide the minister for an interview.

The politics of it all

JP Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, said the decision to dismiss someone from the cabinet lay with Prime Minister Blaine HIggs.

“The thing about the minister’s resignation and dismissal is that it is the prerogative of the prime minister,” he said in an interview on Monday. “And we have a long history of ministers, both at provincial and federal level, who (were called) to resign but did not resign. “We have examples of where the political heat is getting too much, where the prime minister or the prime minister has to let that minister go, so I think it is very difficult to judge what is a doable offense when it comes to cabinet ministers resigning.”

Lewis said the situation probably puts the prime minister in an awkward position, but he probably knows Cardy’s history.

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Lewis said while it was too early to say whether Premier Higgs would make a move to remove Cardy from the cabinet, he had not shy away from doing so in the past, having previously removed five ministers from the cabinet. when he was re-elected in 2020.

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On Monday, however, the prime minister said he made himself clear last week about Cardy’s remarks and called them “unsolicited”.

“In terms of the request for Public Safety, after the situation has been assessed, the department has determined that no further investigation is needed,” Premier Higgs said in an email. “I have made clear my position on Minister Cardy’s actions, both in my public statement last week and in private talks with the minister.”

He closed the statement by saying he had nothing further to add.

Police response

The Fredericton police force said despite efforts to encourage organizers against rallies, Fredericton police, and officers with the New Brunswick Department of Public Safety, were present at a rally in front of Fredericton City Hall on January 22.

“About 400 people were present, and although the protest remained mostly peaceful, there was a small group of civilians who acted to incite discord, which created a dangerous and potentially violent situation,” a previous statement from Fredericton Police Chief Roger Brown said.

Brown said two people have been arrested and are facing various criminal charges, in addition to fines for non-compliance under the Emergency Measures Act (EMA).

“In addition, several other tickets were issued to organizers and participants on the site because it is in conflict with EMA. A number of other individuals have been identified and EMA tickets will be issued immediately. ”

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Brown added, “it is unfortunate that during a time when the pandemic is still affecting so much in our community, and across this province, that the organizers have continued to promote this event.”

The investigation into the event continues.

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