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Saskatchewan NDP asks Speaker to call meeting on gun allegation, invite investigation

May 30, 2024
The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s Opposition is calling on the Speaker to set the wheels in motion for a third-party investigation into gun-carrying and bullying behaviour inside the legislature.

NDP democracy critic Meara Conway told reporters Tuesday that Speaker Randy Weekes chairs the all-party house services committee and could call for that panel to vote on whether to launch a third-party probe with authority to summon witnesses.

The allegations surround Premier Scott Moe’s governing Saskatchewan Party, particularly Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison. Saskatchewan Party members form a majority on the house services committee, meaning such an investigation couldn’t happen without their support.

Conway said if Weekes calls a committee meeting, it would provide a “clean route” to getting an investigation.

“There is an alleged culture of bullying and harassment at the core of Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party caucus,” said Conway.

“Minister Harrison remains one of Moe’s senior ministers and essentially the face of Saskatchewan to international investors and trade partners, despite the fact he’s now an established liar and has displayed conduct well below what we’d expect from any minister of the Crown.”

In a letter to Weekes sent Tuesday, Conway said the issue is bigger than both parties.

“The rule of law must be upheld and the basic principles of workplace safety and accountability must be respected,” she wrote.

Weekes declined to comment on whether he would call such a meeting.

Moe’s office said in a statement that it supports an investigation through the legislature’s anti-harassment policy, with formal complaints filed with the assembly clerk.

It said a third-party probe is a non-starter.

“We would support any investigation that may occur pursuant to the Members’ Anti-Harassment Policy but would not support pursuing this matter through House Services Committee, as that is not the appropriate avenue,” said the statement.

Weekes, who must be impartial in his role as Speaker, failed to secure a nomination to run for the Saskatchewan Party in the upcoming fall election and recently cut up his party membership card.

He surprised the house in April by announcing he had been the subject of intimidating text messages from fellow Saskatchewan Party caucus members, particularly Harrison.

On May 16, the last day of the spring sitting, Weekes added more accusations. He said Harrison had flashed the inside of his jacket at the Speaker, a gesture suggesting the minister was carrying a gun. Weekes also said Harrison once brought a rifle into the building and also wanted to bring in a handgun.

A day later, Moe told reporters the allegations against Harrison were “unequivocally false.”

But Harrison later issued a statement saying he did indeed bring a long gun into the legislature a decade ago to prevent it from being stolen from his truck.

On Monday, Harrison explained more in media interviews. He said he had initially forgotten he took a rifle into the legislature but was reminded of it by family and passed the new information on to Moe.

He denied the accusation from Weekes of wanting to bring a handgun into the legislature. But Harrison said texts to the Speaker were regrettable and part of the cut and thrust of politics.

Harrison resigned his position as government house leader but remains in his cabinet post. Moe said he still has confidence in Harrison.

Last week, the NDP wrote to legislative security and the chief firearms officer asking what they knew about Harrison bringing a gun and wanting to carry one in the legislature.

Dani Herman, the director of legislative security, wrote in response that any allegations of an offence would need to be reported to Regina police.

A spokesperson for Regina police said he could not find any recent reports of complaints of guns at the legislature.

Blaine Beaven, legal counsel for the Saskatchewan Firearms Office, said in a letter that he couldn’t say whether Harrison requested to carry a handgun, as the office can’t release personal information.

Beaven said authorization to carry is only given in very limited circumstances.

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