Moose Jaw police have charged MLA Greg Lawrence with assault a day after he resigned from the Saskatchewan Party caucus.
In a news release, the police service said Lawrence, 58, was charged Wednesday with assault, along with a separate charge of assault by choking.
Police say the charges were laid in connection with complaints of assault "during interactions between two people." They say the investigation began on June 27, 2023.
Lawrence is scheduled to make his first appearance in Moose Jaw provincial court on March 18.
The Saskatchewan Party caucus announced Tuesday that Lawrence had resigned amid an active police investigation into "historical complaints."
It said the historical complaints are unrelated to his duties as an MLA for Moose Jaw Wakamow.
Lawrence has represented the riding since 2011.
A Saskatchewan Party news release from Sept. 26, 2023, quotes Lawrence stating he would not be running in the 2024 election because of "serious injuries in a motorcycle accident last month."
Lawrence to remain an MLA
Although Lawrence is out of the Sask. Party caucus, he will remain an MLA, sitting as an independent. Lawrence was "fully co-operating with the police investigation," a statement from the government caucus said.
CBC News asked Lawrence for a comment on the charges, but his constituency office replied in an email stating he was unavailable for an interview and wouldn't provide a statement.
"He is away from the office recovering from his motorcycle accident," the email said.
The government was asked to respond Wednesday before the charges were announced, and a cabinet office spokesperson said in an email, "it would be inappropriate to comment on an active police investigation."
Another former Sask. Party MLA also facing charges
Lawrence is the second Sask. Party MLA to exit caucus amid criminal charges in recent months.
On Nov. 17, Cut Knife-Turtleford MLA Ryan Domotor was ejected from the Sask. Party benches after being charged with communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services.
Regina police said the charge was laid after Domotor was arrested at a local hotel days before his arrest. Police said they were working on a project "aimed at combating sexual exploitation and human trafficking."
NDP calls Moe's 'leadership and values' into question
Premier Scott Moe issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in which he said he is "deeply concerned" to learn about the charges against Lawrence.
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Carla Beck told reporters she's skeptical that the provincial government didn't know about the investigation.
"I think it's reasonable for people, including myself, to have some misgivings about the premier not having any indication of any of this when there has been an investigation for seven months," Beck said.
On Wednesday, Opposition NDP Leader Carla Beck called on Premier Scott Moe to "face reporters" and clarify when his staff first became aware of the investigation. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)
In a statement, also released Wednesday, the NDP called Moe's "leadership and values" into question.
"Saskatchewan people rightly hold their leaders to a higher standard. Scott Moe and the Sask. Party are supposed to be fighting crime, not committing them. One is a bad apple. Two is a pattern," Beck said in the statement.
"The Sask. Party has been in power for 16 years. The old boys club in the legislature clearly thinks that the laws and rules don't apply to them. Frankly, I think they're in it for themselves and just not living up to the values we're so proud of as Saskatchewan people."
Beck called on Moe to "face reporters" and clarify when his staff first became aware of the investigation.