Saskatchewan Speaker calls meeting to get to bottom of Jeremy Harrison gun allegations

Randy Weekes, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, talks to reporters in Regina, Thursday, May 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeremy Simes. GAC

Saskatchewan’s legislature Speaker says a meeting he called for next week is the only avenue to get to the bottom of gun allegations surrounding a cabinet minister.

Randy Weekes said Friday the house services committee, which he chairs, is to convene next week to move forward on an investigation into Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison bringing a gun into the legislature, along with other weapons accusations against Harrison.

“The committee needs to deal with this for the benefit of future Speakers, the legislative assembly and the credibility of the institution,” Weekes said in an interview.

“If there needs to be some changes made, they need to be made and this is the body that should start that process.”

On the last day of the spring sitting in May, Weekes accused Harrison of toting the gun in the building, wanting to carry a handgun and sending harassing text messages.

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Harrison initially denied bringing in the gun, but later admitted doing it and resigned as government house leader as a result. He also said he once sent Weekes an inappropriate text with an expletive.

Weekes said there are inconsistencies in what Harrison told reporters about the gun incident compared with a leaked letter that offered different details.

Harrison said he brought the gun in about 10 years ago in the fall and was going bird hunting. The letter, from the former acting sergeant-at-arms, said it occurred eight years ago in the spring and involved shooting coyotes.

“He admitted to bringing a shotgun into the building in 2014 in the fall to go hunt pheasants and the incident report that I made public states very clearly that he brought a rifle in 2016,” Weekes said.

Harrison had also said security was aware of the gun, but the letter said security was not informed.

It said security officers were startled when they encountered Harrison, who was wearing camouflage clothing. Harrison then walked past the security kiosk and disappeared around the corner.

“We know Jeremy Harrison denied and the premier denied that this happened. And after a while, it turned out to be true,” Weekes said.

Weekes said he is also concerned Harrison may have carried a gun into the legislature on another occasion.

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Earlier this month, the Opposition NDP asked Weekes to call the committee and have it move a motion to appoint an independent investigator. New Democrats also want government members, including Premier Scott Moe and Harrison, to appear as witnesses for interrogation.

NDP Leader Carla Beck said Friday that Moe and Harrison have failed to keep a straight story.

“I hope they show up (to the meeting), I think they need to show up to answer these allegations,” Beck told reporters.

“If the government doesn’t show up, it’s another indication on a long list for a government that thinks the rules don’t apply to them and goes to great lengths to avoid accountability.”

The committee is made up of four governing Saskatchewan Party members, three from the NDP and Weekes.

It needs five members in attendance for the NDP to move its motion. Weekes plans to recuse himself should that happen, he said.

“I’m hoping (government members) show up and do the right thing and carry out an independent investigation of the whole gun issue,” Weekes said.

“It’s very interesting times, but I feel very good about everything.”

A spokesperson for Moe’s office said it won’t support the motion, saying Weekes can have his claims of harassment investigated through the assembly clerk.

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Weekes said he hasn’t decided whether to make that complaint.

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