Sask. government won't support NDP motion to investigate Speaker's allegations

A committee of government and opposition members will not meet to review allegations made by Speaker Randy Weekes. (CBC / Radio-Canada - image credit)
A committee of government and opposition members will not meet to review allegations made by Speaker Randy Weekes. (CBC / Radio-Canada - image credit)

The Saskatchewan Party government has turned down the NDP's pitch to have a committee review allegations made by  Speaker Randy Weekes.

The opposition recently sent a letter to Weekes, chair of the House services committee, asking him to contact members and inform them of the meeting request.

Weekes asked the committee members how they wanted to proceed, and on Monday the government's House leadership said it would not accept the NDP's invitation.

"Because there is a clear process for dealing with allegations of harassment, we will not be supporting the Opposition motion. We appreciate that the Speaker has asked House services committee members for direction on this matter," a statement from the government said.

House leadership on the government side has informed the Speaker.

On May 16. Weekes said he had been bullied, harassed and intimidated by government members and staff.

The Opposition also wanted scrutiny of allegations related to guns. Weekes said during a speech that former government House leader Jeremy Harrison brought a firearm into the legislative building at some point in the past.

Last week, the NDP sent a second letter asking the committee to consider two motions in a meeting:

  • Appointing an independent investigator.

  • Calling Premier Scott Moe, Jeremy Harrison, Lori Carr and others to answer questions about allegations made by the Speaker.

The committee has eight members, four government MLAs including Harrison and current House Leader Carr, the Speaker and three opposition MLAs.

In its statement, the government said the Legislative Assembly has an anti-harassment policy and a process to follow.

"The policy spells out a clear process for reporting and resolving allegations of harassment. It includes an investigation process and a provision to engage an independent outside investigator if necessary. This is the process that should be followed should the Speaker, or any Member of the Legislative Assembly, wish to make a harassment complaint."

Last week, Moe said the policy could be put into action by one individual and to his knowledge that had not happened.

Opposition urges Speaker to call meeting

On Tuesday, the NDP sent a letter to Weekes, asking him to convene the House services committee.

"While we understand that the Legislative Assembly has an official anti-harassment policy, the scope of that policy does not adequately address many of the concerns arising from the comments you shared on the last day of the spring sitting," the letter from deputy NDP Leader Vicki Mowat said.

Mowat said the policy cannot investigate:

  • The allegation Harrison brought a long gun into the Legislative Building and sought permission to carry a handgun in the Legislative Building.

  • The explanations of Moe and Harrison.

  • An alleged incident of staff-on-member harassment.

Mowat said following the existing policy would result in a "highly limited investigation."