South Dakota Court Says Government Doesn’t Need To Pay For Home Cops Destroyed To Find A Fugitive Who Wasn’t There


from the I-guess-this-is-on-you,-innocent-homeowner dept

Destroying houses appears to be a cop hobby. Somehow searching for suspects involves punching larger-than-man-size holes in walls, shattering every pane of glass that separates cops from perps, and forcibly removing every door that would otherwise open as designed if officers attempted to use the handles.

Maybe some of this is justified if an armed and dangerous suspect is barricaded inside. But law enforcement agencies have made citizens suspected of nothing homeless while attempting to extricate shoplifting suspects, homeless people, and a man armed with nothing more than an ice cream bar. One woman’s house was rendered unlivable after it was the centerpiece in a 10-hour standoff between local cops and the only resident located in the house: the family dog. And a house that contained no one was destroyed after its empty interior thwarted cops’ efforts to apprehend a nonexistent suspect for more than 19 hours.

Trying to get anyone other than innocent homeowners to pay for this damage is almost impossible. Almost every court has considered this the cost of doing government business — something taxpayers are always asked to cover. If officers have a law enforcement reason to raze houses, the cost must be borne by those unhoused.

Another case involving the destruction of a house to capture a suspect who wasn’t even on the premises has made its way into the court system. And it has (mostly) dead-ended there, thanks to a recent decision by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

In this case, the Hamlin County Sheriff’s Department was searching for Gary Hamen, who had an outstanding arrest warrant for felony burglary and violation of a protective order. Gary — who had threatened to shoot himself and anyone else he came in contact with — called his father, Gareth, asking for a vehicle to drive to “Canada or Mexico.” At that point, he was in a nearby trailer home owned by Gareth, located about 600 feet away from Gareth’s trailer.

Officers listened in on this phone call and deputies saw Gary exit the trailer and then walk back inside. The Sheriff’s Department requested the assistance of the Watertown PD and secured a drone to fly over the trailer in an attempt to spot Gary or see any exit routes he might take.

A SWAT team assembled and set up a perimeter around the trailer. But this effort appears to have been mostly pointless. From the decision [PDF]:

While the SWAT team attempted to contact Gary, officers received a report that a local resident had observed Gary running towards Castlewood. The resident reported that Gary came out of a tree line near a river and sewage pond, but he had run back into the trees. Sergeant Ellis and the SWAT team tried to locate Gary in this area and encountered another witness who also believed he had seen Gary. An officer inside the armored vehicle called Gary’s cellphone. Gary answered the phone call and claimed he was almost to Minnesota. He sounded out of breath, like he was running.

Law enforcement also spoke to Gary’s brother-in-law, who confirmed he had seen Gary the previous night. During this conversation, officers received more information suggesting Gary was no longer in the trailer currently surrounded by a SWAT team.

Not too far away, even more radio traffic suggested entering the trailer wasn’t going to result in the discovery of the fugitive.

Meanwhile, Troy Jurrens, who ran a business from his home nearby, was listening to the transmissions among law enforcement on a police scanner as they attempted to locate Gary. He stated: “someone announced on the radio that they were ‘going back to the trailer,’” to which another voice responded, “he’s not in the trailer.” Troy claimed, “The first voice answered back saying they were going back anyway.”

Deputies told Gareth they were going to try to enter the trailer. They did not mention they were planning to destroy the trailer to do this. They also did not ask for consent to enter the trailer, which was the property of Gareth Hamen. Cop-on-house violence ensued.

Not long after, the Sheriff authorized SWAT and the SRT to breach doors and windows on the Hamens’ mobile home. According to Wishard’s affidavit, the “tactical procedure [to secure the mobile home] is to create communication portholes in attempts to call out any subject or subjects that may be hiding inside.” If unsuccessful, gas munitions are used to flush out anyone inside. To create the communication portholes for the Hamens’ trailer, an armored vehicle pulled away the front stairs and deck, which were not attached to the mobile home or secured in the ground, and pushed in the front door with a ram. The second armored vehicle opened three portholes on the opposite side of the mobile home by breaking through windows and a sliding patio door, causing significant damage to the walls and the septic system.

And then:

Shortly after this procedure and before officers entered the mobile home, Gary was seen walking in the river near the Hamens’ residence. Law enforcement apprehended him at approximately 6:00 p.m.

Gareth Hamen sued, seeking compensation for his destroyed property. But there’s nothing in the law that says the government needs to pay for property it destroys — at least not in this fashion. While state law does allow property owners to seek compensation under the state constitution (in order to “ensure that individuals are not unfairly burdened by disproportionately bearing the costs of projects intended to benefit the public generally”), that clause doesn’t apply to cops destroying a house to find someone who wasn’t even in it. And it’s that way because this court has always said that’s the way it is.

[O]ur prior decisions have consistently applied the public use language in article VI, § 13 to both the takings and damages clauses, while rejecting a right to compensation under article VI, § 13 when the action involved the state’s police power.

That eliminates one of the allegations. But there’s still qualified immunity to consider. Unfortunately, the state Supreme Court says only one of those two allegations will survive.

There were two egregious Constitutional violations: the warrantless entry and the excessive destruction of personal property. Guess which one gets to go forward.

We conclude that, at a minimum, the Sheriff’s warrantless entry into the mobile home required an objectively reasonable belief that Gary was living in and present in the home at the time of entry.

[…]

Given that law enforcement’s last contact with Gary suggested he was no longer in the home, coupled with the fact that law enforcement had surrounded the mobile home for several hours without incident or any materialized threat from Gary, we cannot determine as a matter of law that exigent circumstances existed at the time the Sheriff decided to enter the mobile home.

Since there’s plenty of information on the record that suggests at least some officers involved had reason to believe Gary wasn’t in the home, there could not possibly be exigent circumstances to enter the home without a warrant to locate someone arrested a couple of hours later outside of the home. This goes back to the lower court for more development of the record.

Unfortunately, the court somehow doesn’t consider the damage caused during the search to be worthy of further examination. The officers are granted qualified immunity for the excessive force, even though the court says the entry itself may have been unconstitutional. Walking through a front door without a warrant is no good. Forcibly removing the door (along with windows, walls, part of the septic system, etc.) is just fine because no “reasonable officer” would have been aware that destroying a house to facilitate an illegal search was unconstitutional.

Regardless of whether the Sheriff used excessive force, the Hamens cannot prevail because they cannot show that the Sheriff’s use of force, even if it was excessive, violated a “clearly established” right.

The dissent says this makes no sense. If the entry was unlawful, everything that connected to that entry is similarly unlawful.

Regarding the § 1983 excessive force claim, as a starting premise, if the court determines on remand that the Sheriff’s entry into the mobile home was unlawful, then the nature and extent of force used is immaterial. In such case, the Sheriff is liable to the Hamens’ for the damage caused by the entry.

Furthermore, even if the entry is ultimately proven lawful, the damage caused was excessive, given the facts of the case.

Viewing the underlying facts in a light most favorable to the Hamens, it is questionable whether the use of “communication portals” of the sort made here were required given the small size of the trailer, particularly when considering that, up to the point of their decision to enter the trailer, law enforcement had been using a loudspeaker to attempt to communicate with Gary. Viewed in this light, the resulting damage to the trailer was intolerable in its intensity and unnecessary to execute the burglary warrant at issue.

That’s how it stands in South Dakota: law enforcement can destroy a house to engage in an illegal search without having to worry about paying for the damage. A single claim survives this trip through the court system, which likely isn’t going to produce a decision or settlement large enough to replace the home. And even if it does, it will come years after the damage was done.

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Filed Under: gary mhamen, hamlin county, houses, police, south dakota, swat team, wrong suspect

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Government ‘ruling nothing out’ as Indian variant cases more than double


oris Johnson has said the Government is “ruling nothing out” in tackling the Indian variant of concern as new figures show cases have more than doubled in a week.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows a rise in cases from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK, with the agency saying cases were “rising in the community” and it was assessing the impact and severity of the variant.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 strategic response director at PHE, said: “We need to act collectively and responsibly to ensure that variants do not impact on the progress we have all made to drive down levels of Covid-19 and the increased freedom that brings.”

In Bolton which has one of the highest case rates of the variant in the country, mobile testing units have been deployed and door-to-door PCR Covid testing has been offered to 22,000 residents.

A vaccine bus has been set up to increase uptake among those who are eligible.

Measures have also been brought in elsewhere, including in parts of London.

Speaking at a primary school in Ferryhill, County Durham, earlier, the Prime Minister said: “It is a variant of concern, we are anxious about it.

“At the moment there is a very wide range of scientific opinion about what could happen.

“We want to make sure we take all the prudential, cautious steps now that we could take, so there are meetings going on today to consider exactly what we need to do.

“There is a range of things we could do, we are ruling nothing out.”

Asked if local lockdowns were possible, Mr Johnson said: “There are a range of things we could do, we want to make sure we grip it.

“Obviously there’s surge testing, there’s surge tracing.

“If we have to do other things, then of course the public would want us to rule nothing out.

“We have always been clear we would be led by the data.

“At the moment, I can see nothing that dissuades me from thinking we will be able to go ahead on Monday and indeed on June 21 everywhere, but there may be things we have to do locally and we will not hesitate to do them if that is the advice we get.”

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Ballymurphy Inquest: UK government is ‘truly sorry’


The UK government “profoundly regrets and is truly sorry” for the events surrounding Ballymurphy in 1971, the NI secretary has told Parliament.

Brandon Lewis said this also extended to the families for the “additional pain” they have had to endure and at how investigations were handled.

An inquest found 10 people, who were shot in the wake of an Army operation in Belfast, were “entirely innocent”.

One of the victims’ relatives asked why the apology was not made by the PM.

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was killed, said the families had to find out from a journalist that Mr Lewis was making the statement.

She said it was upsetting and they were being treated like “second class citizens”.

“Why could Boris not do it? Why could he not have stood up and give that apology?” she asked, in an interview with BBC NI’s Talkback programme.

“Brandon Lewis is just like a puppet for Boris. He’s [Boris Johnson] leaving him to mop up for him. He couldn’t even be in the room when he was giving the apology.”

Mr Lewis told Parliament the PM was writing to the families.

He said there was “no doubt what happened on those awful few days in Ballymurphy fuelled further violence and escalation, particularly in the early years of the Troubles”.

“This government profoundly regrets and is truly sorry for these events, at how investigations after these terrible events were handled and for the additional pain that the families have had to endure in their fight to clear the names of their loved ones, since they began their campaign almost five decades ago,” Mr Lewis said.

On Wednesday, Downing Street said Boris Johnson had apologised to Northern Ireland’s first and deputy first ministers in a phone call.

But some victims’ families said the remarks should have been made in public.

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Government to consider more cheap airfares



More cheap flights could be on the way if Australians snap up the remaining 137,000 cut-price fares.

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ACT government plans to increase age of criminal responsibility




It’s the only government in the country committed to making the change, aimed at keeping children as young as 10 out of jail. Rosie King reports.

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WA government apologises over death of seven-year-old Aishwarya Aswath at Perth hospital



The West Australian health minister has apologised to the parents of seven-year-old Aishwarya Aswath after she died at a Perth hospital emergency room, saying she should have had better care.

Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook has publicly apologised to the family of Aishwarya Aswath, nearly six weeks after the seven-year-old girl died in the emergency room of Perth Children’s hospital.

Mr Cook said Aishwarya and her parents were “failed” by the health system when she was brought to the emergency department around 5pm on Saturday, 3 April after developing fever-like symptoms.

Her parents, Aswath Chavittupara and Prasitha Sasidharan, say they waited more than two hours to see a doctor, during which time her hands went cold and white patches formed on her eyes.

Her parents begged nurses for help on several occasions, but were ignored. Aishwarya reportedly died within 15 minutes of seeing a doctor.

Aishwarya’s parents, Aswath Chavittupara and Prasitha Sasidharan.
SBS News/Aaron Fernandes

After her death, Child and Adolescent Health Services, the department that runs the hospital, began a root-cause analysis of what happened. They found she died from a bacterial infection related to group A streptococcus.

The review came with a public apology from the health minister, on behalf of the state government.

“I promised there would be a thorough and detailed examination. Today, that investigation, known as a root-cause analysis, has been delivered to the family. It is confronting and distressing reading,” Mr Cook said on Wednesday.

“What is clear is that Aishwarya and her parents should have had better care at our hospital. They did not get the help they asked for.

“I want to publicly apologise to them on behalf of the government. I’m sorry.”

However, the review found no individual was responsible for the lack of care Aishwarya received. Nor did it find that staffing shortages were a contributing factor to her treatment.

“The report has not found an individual culpable in relation to this issue. Staff work in very difficult circumstances, making difficult decisions many times a day,” Mr Cook said.

The health minister said the government would not release the full report publicly, and instead tabled its 11 recommendations in WA Parliament on Wednesday.

They include improvements to triage, a clear pathway for parents to escalate concerns, and a further root-cause analysis of the hospital’s emergency department.

The report also recommended developing an established sepsis recognition tool, and a review of staff awareness of culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook  at Claremont Showgrounds in Perth, Monday, May 2, 2021.

Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook at Claremont Showgrounds in Perth, Monday, May 2, 2021.
AAP

However, Mr Cook downplayed any potential race-related concerns.

“None that (the panel) spoke to believed that race played an issue in relation to the care of Aishwarya,” he said.

CAHS board chair Deb Karasinski resigned on Wednesday, following the review.

But CAHS Chief Executive Dr Aresh Anwar said he had offered his resignation to the director general of the WA Health Department, but it was not accepted.

Neither Mr Cook nor Dr Anwar would answer questions or provide detail about any clinical failures in Aishwarya’s care.

“The aim of the report is not to ascribe blame, but to try and identify areas where we can improve,” Dr Anwar said.

Aishwarya’s parents are expected to comment publicly on the case on Thursday.

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WA government apologises to family of Aishwarya Aswath


Western Australia has offered an unreserved apology to the family of Aishwarya Aswath, who died at Perth Children’s Hospital last month while waiting to see a doctor.

Health Minister Roger Cook addressed the tragic death of the seven-year-old girl in parliament on Wednesday and tabled the recommendations from the first investigation into her death.

“I wish to apologise unreservedly for this failure and for the heartbreak and devastation Aishwarya’s death has caused her family and her community,” he said.

“On behalf of the McGowan Government, Child and Adolescent Health Services, and all the health community, I say to Aishwarya’s family — I am sorry.”

RELATED: Parents’ hunger strike at hospital after daughter died waiting for doctor

Mr Cook said it was clear Aishwarya should have received better care at the children’s hospital when she was taken there by her parents on Easter Saturday with a fever.

The report found the seven-year-old had succumbed to an infection related to group A streptococcus after being largely ignored for two hours.

Her parents, Aswath Chavittupara and Prasitha Sasidharan, pleaded with staff for her to be assessed as her eyes became cloudy, and her hands turned cold and became rigid.

She died soon after seeing a doctor.

Aishwarya’s parents were given a copy of the report this morning.

“It is vital that we now give the family appropriate time to read and process the report,” Mr Cook said.

“We must respect their right to privacy and acknowledge that this report documents in detail the final hours of their daughter‘s life — it is confronting and extremely distressing to read.”

RELATED: Nurse’s damning letter before girl’s death

The initial report made eleven recommendations including a review of cultural awareness for staff, a pathway for parents to properly voice concerns to staff, improvements to the triage policy at Perth Children’s Hospital and the adaptation of an established sepsis recognition tool.

Following the initial inquiry, Mr Cook said he had requested a second, independent inquiry into the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency department.

“It is vital that we learn what happened at Perth Children’s Hospital, and continue to improve the care provided to the children and young people of Western Australia,” he said.

“I know this tragic event has been felt by staff across Perth Children‘s Hospital, and we must continue to support them and the work they do.”

Family spokesman Suresh Rajan told the ABC that Aishwarya’s parents welcomed the report, but more needed to be done.

“When we look at the recommendations themselves, we are staggered that it takes the death of a child to have those recommendations for procedural changes which should be a given for any hospital in a first world nation,” he said.

“It means this is now almost a line in the sand to say we have to move on from here.

“It has taken the death of a child, but if it results in a better health system, then that apology is really welcome as a starting point.

“They’ve gone from a position of grief to a position of anger … what (Aishwarya’s parents) are driven by now is very much around systemic change that will make sure no-one else has to go through this.”

The grieving parents held a hunger strike outside the hospital earlier this month to demand answers over her death — before the findings from today’s inquiry were handed down.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan committed to two separate inquiries into Aishwarya’s death earlier this month.

“It’s a very, very sad thing for the family. I think everyone feels for them but we can’t possibly understand their grief,” he said. “It’s beyond imagining.

“There’ll be two inquiries into the matter to get to the bottom of what has occurred. I think we owe the family and Aishwarya that as a state.”

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Roe 8 and 9 bypass funded by federal government despite WA seeking to ban wetlands development



A controversial bypass that would have bulldozed sensitive wetlands is still attracting funding from the federal government, despite WA re-introducing legislation that will effectively bury plans to build it forever.

A $1.2 billion provision for the Roe 8 and 9 projects remained in the federal budget, handed down yesterday.

The WA Labor government tried and failed to pass legislation in its first term of government to amend the Metropolitan Region Scheme and rezone the Beeliar Wetlands, to reclassify 34 hectares to a Parks and Recreation reserve.

The plan would stop the former WA Liberal government’s Perth Freight Link Plan from ever being able to go ahead in its current form.

“Rezoning the land through this bill will ensure the Beeliar Wetlands are preserved for the future, for the enjoyment of future generations,” WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said as the legislation was re-introduced in Parliament today.

“We have a clear mandate to deliver on this commitment … I believe we need to put an end to the debate of development of this area, once and for all.”

WA Liberals still pushing Roe 8

The WA Liberals are standing by the plan, despite taking the policy to two previous state elections, which they lost.

WA Liberal leader David Honey said his party remained entirely committed to the proposal, while criticising the government’s outer harbour plans for Kwinana.

“This is economic vandalism for the state of Western Australia,” Dr Honey said.

“This is a ridiculous position that the state government’s taken, they should take the $1.2 billion, deal with the traffic chaos in the southern suburbs, and use that money, those billions of dollars they plan to spend on a new harbour, to solve critical problems.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the Commonwealth should re-direct the provisional funding to “build a quarantine facility”.

“To meet the needs of the nation, that would be a far better use of that money,” Mr McGowan said.

“Building a highway that isn’t needed through the middle of a wetland isn’t a wise use of public money.”

The bill was defeated by one vote in the Upper House during the last term of government, but is unlikely to face any challenges this term, with the state government holding a majority in both houses of Parliament.

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Federal government to spend $12B on Toronto, Hamilton transit


Officials are making a transit announcement today at 1 p.m. ET. Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna and Small Business Minister Mary Ng, and Ontario’s Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Associate Minister Kinga Surma, are scheduled to speak. 

You can watch the announcement live in this story.


The federal government will spend $12 billion on transit projects in Toronto and Hamilton.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the money will go toward four subway projects already underway — the Ontario Line, Scarborough, the Eglinton West Crosstown extension and the Yonge North subway extension — as well as a light rail transit line that’s set to run through Hamilton’s downtown core.

Part of the funding will also go toward buying zero-emission streetcars for the TTC, made at Alstom’s Thunder Bay automotive plant (Alstom finalized its purchase of Bombardier Transportation at the beginning of 2021).

Trudeau said the “historic” agreement will reduce traffic congestion and pollution and create jobs, as part of Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Rapid transit shortens commutes, which gives parents more time with their kids and ensures kids will inherit a cleaner future,” Trudeau said. “Public transit is at the heart of a strong recovery and a growing middle class.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office said it has been urging the federal government to invest in transit for the past two years. 

“We have been calling on the federal government to provide its fair share of at least 40 per cent of our four nationally significant subway projects for the GTA,” said spokesperson Ivana Yelich in an email.

“In addition, we have been urging them to help fund a viable Hamilton LRT project.”

Projects plagued by delays, controversies

Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne had committed $1 billion to the Hamilton 14-kilometre LRT in 2015. It was cancelled by Ford’s government four years later, claiming it was billions of dollars over budget. Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and private sector partner the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) both said the province’s figures were overblown.

Earlier this year, the province revived a smaller, nine-kilometre line and renewed its $1 billion commitment. However, that funding was contingent on the federal government committing $1.5 billion.  

Meanwhile, the subway lines in Toronto have their own rocky history. 

The Scarborough rapid transit line was originally supposed to be replaced with a light rail line, which would have been up and running by now. However, that project was scrapped by Ford’s brother Rob Ford when he was elected mayor of Toronto in 2010. Council then approved a more-expensive underground extension to connect the northeast region to downtown.  

It has gone through several revisions in the last decade and is now a three-stop extension expected to cost $6 billion — a price that Metrolinx determined outweighs its benefits. Recently, the TTC recommended shutting down the aging Scarborough line in 2023 and use buses until the project is completed in 2030. 

Doug Ford championed the $10.9-billion, 15-stop Ontario Line, following his election as premier. It is slated to run 16 kilometres from Ontario Place through downtown beneath King Street and then north to the Ontario Science Centre. 

Parts of the ambitious plan, with no target completion date, have faced opposition from Toronto city councillors and residents. A section of the line will run above ground, which residents say will add noise pollution and destroy trees and animal habitats. 

Construction for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT began in 2011 and has been repeatedly delayed to late 2022. The $5.2-billion project was supposed to open this fall. 

In the meantime, small businesses and residents have suffered. More than 100 businesses have closed on Eglinton Avenue because of the construction, CBC News previously reported.

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Federal government, media and NDP Opposition wanted COVID-19 disaster, says Alberta justice minister


Alberta’s justice minister is under fire for remarks he posted on Facebook that said the federal Liberal government, the media and the NDP opposition wanted the province’s health-care system to be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. 

Kaycee Madu made the remarks last week, a few days after the UCP government introduced more restrictions to contain a surge of COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

In the comment section of another user’s Facebook page, Madu wrote that the government needed to act or run the risk of leaving Albertans “in field and makeshift hospitals, gasping for breath because we have [run] out of ventilators, manpower etc.”

“My point is that I don’t think it will be responsible to simply wait until we have a disaster on our hands,” wrote the member of the legislature for Edmonton-South West.  

“That’s what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want. We simply couldn’t allow that to happen.”

NDP MLA David Shepherd, the Opposition’s health critic, said it was “disgusting” for Madu to claim the opposition and the media are cheering for the province to fail and for people to die. 

Shepherd, who represents Edmonton-City Centre, pointed out the NDP caucus had for months been calling for the government to bring in stricter measures. He suggested that cabinet, which includes Madu, delayed acting to avoid upsetting the UCP’s base supporters. 

“They’ve continued to make decisions that are more about their own political interests than supporting the public health on behalf of Albertans,” Shepherd said. 

“I think that’s what we’re seeing from this minister here. And that is why Alberta finds itself in such a bad situation in the midst of this third wave.”

‘The minister won’t apologize’

But a spokesperson for Madu defended the justice minister’s comments. 

“The minister was referring to the increasing tendency of different groups, including the NDP, to exploit the pandemic for their own political purposes,” press secretary Blaise Boehmer said in an email. 

“We see this every day with the NDP’s overcooked and incendiary rhetoric, both in the legislative assembly and on social media. The minister won’t apologize for stating the obvious.”

Madu’s comments don’t align with a new tone being set by Premier Jason Kenney, according to Duane Bratt, a professor of political science at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.

Previously, Kenney would regularly target Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and the federal government for the lack of vaccines. But now shipments of vaccines are regularly arriving in Alberta.

Bratt said Madu’s Facebook post conflicts with the new message coming from the premier. 

“I don’t know what Madu was thinking,” he said. “It just makes him look bad.”

As far as political gaffes are concerned, Bratt said this one is minor. 

“But it does take away from the change in message, change in tone, that we’ve seen previously.” 

A spokesperson for the federal government said Albertans expect governments to do everything possible to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“The federal government has done this from the start and will continue to do what it takes, for as long as it takes,” said Annie Cullinan, press secretary to Jim Carr, the federal government’s special representative to the Prairies.

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