Sask. NDP calls for Premier Moe, Harrison to appear as witnesses before committee

Saskatchewan's Opposition says there should be an investigation into harassment allegations made by the Speaker and that Premier Scott Moe, left, and cabinet minister Jeremy Harrison should appear as witnesses before a government committee. (Kirk Fraser/Matt Duguid/CBC - image credit)
Saskatchewan's Opposition says there should be an investigation into harassment allegations made by the Speaker and that Premier Scott Moe, left, and cabinet minister Jeremy Harrison should appear as witnesses before a government committee. (Kirk Fraser/Matt Duguid/CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP is calling for a government committee to meet, appoint an investigator and call Premier Scott Moe and Jeremy Harrison to answer questions about allegations the Speaker made last month.

Last week, NDP MLA Meara Conway sent a letter to Speaker Randy Weekes asking him to summon members of the all-party house services committee. Weekes is chair of the committee.

Conway said the committee should appoint an independent investigator to look into allegations Weekes made in the assembly on May 16. Weekes said he was bullied, harassed and intimidated by government members and staff.

The Opposition also wants allegations related to guns scrutinized. Weekes said during a speech that then-government House leader Jeremy Harrison brought a firearm into the legislative building at some point in the past.

Initially, Moe said Harrison denied that happened. A week after Weekes made the initial accusation, Harrison admitted it had and resigned as government House leader, saying he did not remember the incident at first, but was reminded after conversations with family.

Last week, Weekes shared with the media a 2016 letter from the then-acting sergeant-at-arms. It detailed how Harrison entered the legislative building wearing a hat, hunting camouflage, and carrying a gun case. It happened around noon on a Thursday. Security viewed the man and eventually identified him as Harrison but it indicated he bypassed the security desk.

"This was a bad error in judgment, wasn't against the rules at the time, but look, I should not have done it and I've taken accountability for that," Harrison said last week.

Harrison remains in cabinet. He has apologized.

Weekes also said Harrison had wanted to carry a handgun in the building previously. Harrison denied that claim.

Vicki Mowat, the provincial Opposition health critic, said Saskatoon's hospital issues are not unique to the city, pointing to capacity issues in Regina as well.
Vicki Mowat, the provincial Opposition health critic, said Saskatoon's hospital issues are not unique to the city, pointing to capacity issues in Regina as well.

Opposition deputy leader Vicki Mowat has sent a letter to Speaker Randy Weekes, the chair of a government committee, requesting an independent investigation into harassment complaints. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

On Monday, Weekes sent a letter to all-party house services committee members and asked them how they wanted to proceed.

On Thursday, NDP deputy leader Vicki Mowat sent a letter to Weekes calling on the committee to meet. She also said the committee should call Moe, Harrison, current government House leader Lori Carr and senior advisor to the premier Reg Downs to appear as witnesses.

Mowat said the committee should meet as soon as possible.

"The public deserves answers. Minister Harrison has been caught lying at least three times now. We can't trust a word he says — we need an investigation," Mowat said.

Mowat said Weekes's allegations deserve further scrutiny.

"At the end of the day, this is about trust and accountability. You can't have members of the Sask. Party openly lying to the public and trying to bully the independent Speaker," Mowat said.

Last week, Harrison was removed from the board of internal economy and replaced by the new deputy House leader Paul Merriman.

Harrison remains a member of the House services committee, as does new House leader Lori Carr. In her letter to Weekes, Mowat suggested Merriman replace Harrison on the House services committee, as he is the subject of some of Weekes's accusations.

The House services committee consists of the Speaker as chair, four government members and three Opposition members.

Moe said Wednesday that the ball is in the Speaker's court when it comes to harassment allegations.

"With respect to any claims of harassment, we have an anti-harassment policy in the legislature and it can only be enacted or put into action by one individual, and thus far to my knowledge that individual hasn't done so."

On the gun incident, Moe said Harrison did nothing "illegal" and is "being dealt with internally within our caucus."