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Speaker cuts ties with Sask. Party, alleges he faced threats, harassment from gov't MLAs

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The Speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislature Randy Weekes has severed ties with the Sask. Party after accusing some members of bullying and intimidation tactics, including a situation he claims saw the Government House Leader bring a hunting rifle to the legislative building.

Weekes is a member of the governing caucus but must remain independent and impartial in his role as Speaker. He was elected to the legislature in 1999 and lost his nomination to represent the Saskatchewan Party for this year's provincial election.

On Thursday during closing remarks for the Spring Session, Weekes revealed concerning behaviour from Sask. Party members and claimed he experienced “many challenges” during his time as Speaker.

Weekes said that included intimidation and harassment as well as threatening gestures that began “almost immediately.”

“When I became Speaker the intimidating and harassing text messages began immediately trying to influence my rulings,” Weekes said.

Weekes said his experiences with the Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison in the chambers included threatening gestures whenever he ruled against him during session.

“He would start yelling at me and stand up and flash his suit jacket and storm out,” Weekes said.

According to Weekes, an example of inappropriate behaviour and attempting to influence him as a Speaker included a text message from Harrison on March 22, 2023, that said, “That’s an absolute bull shit ruling, completely wrong and Iris will tell you that.”

Weekes said he personally received hundreds of other text messages from Harrison before he then started sending them to the Clerk. Eventually Estevan MLA and Deputy Government House Leader Lori Carr began texting him, Weekes claimed.

“She especially harassed me during the emergency debate on the parental rights motion,” Weekes said, before reading off several messages he claimed Carr sent to him during the emergency debate.

Weekes said during the same emergency debate he left and handed the chair to the Deputy Speaker and faced more animosity from government members while walking to his office.

“There was a government staffer sitting in a chair, the only person out there, and as I went by the government lounge Reg Downs, special advisor to the premier came out of the lounge and lunged at me,” Weekes said.

According to Weekes that was not the first time he felt threatened.

“Another MLA rushed me at a party function [and] came very close to head-butting me,” Weekes said.

Weekes then referred back to Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison and said he showed signs of inappropriate behaviour from the time he was first elected.

“He expects his staff to go to his home and pick up his clothes. He has trouble keeping staff, there’s a revolving door of government staff coming and going,” Weekes claimed.

Weekes then went on to say the most disturbing fact to him was Harrison’s obsession with guns and physical and verbal intimidation tactics.

“His desire to get permission to carry a handgun in the legislative assembly is particularly disturbing. Another incident reported by a former special constable was when the Government House Leader flaunted the rules concerning weapons when he brought a hunting rifle into the legislative building,” he claimed.

According to Weekes, as Harrison would yell and flash his suit jacket at him over time he became more worried that he was carrying a handgun in his jacket.

“My concerns over his mental stability and his obsession with guns was only confirmed when he heckled after the passing of the motion to devolve all relevant parts of the Firearms Act to the province he twice yelled, ‘open carry, open carry next,’” Weekes said.

NDP Leader Carla Beck did corroborate Weekes’ recollection of the “open carry” chant by Harrison.

She went on to tell reporters that she is expecting answers surrounding the allegations.

“These are very, very serious allegations not only in terms of integrity but in terms of safety in this building,” Beck said.

“Absolutely, I want answers to this.”

Weekes’ speech to the assembly can be seen using the video player at the top of the article.

Both Harrison and Carr did not speak to reporters following the conclusion of proceedings on Thursday.

A 'sore loser' says premier

Speaking to reporters following Weeke’s speech – Premier Scott Moe claimed to have no prior knowledge of any of Weekes’ claims and complaints.

“I don’t know about this,” Moe said while chuckling. “We heard a number of comments here at the end of session … I mean most of this occurred, allegedly occurred, prior to December 14 when the Speaker was still running in a nomination for this party. So I’ve never spoken to him about these items of concern.”

Moe went on to label Weekes a “sore loser.”

“I have no basis for any of that to be quite frank,” he said. “Like I said, he still ran in a nomination knowing most of what he said. So it’s unfortunate – but nothing more than unfortunately a sore loser.”

“I’m as shocked as anyone as to what the Speaker was reading into the record there again if he truly wanted to be part of this party and raise some of [his] concerns he would bring them to me.”

Moe referred to Harrison as a “strong government house leader” and expressed confidence in his ability to hold the role.

“I would say he serves quite competently,” he said.

In reference to Weekes’ comments about Harrison’s state of mind – reporters asked the Premier if any conversations have taken place discussing the government house leader's mental health.

“None, no. First time I’ve heard of any of this,” Moe responded. “I don’t know what’s going on in the speaker’s mind and how he’s interpreting various texts and thoughts that he might have. That’d be a question for him.”

“At this point I can’t attribute it [the speaker's claims] to anything more than just sour grapes, that he wasn’t successful in the nomination because up until December 14, he wanted to be part of Minister Harrison’s caucus,” Moe added.

Moe also said he had no knowledge of a firearm being brought to the legislative building.

“I never have experienced that, and I’ve never seen a gun or heard of a gun being in the building,” Moe told reporters.

Moe did say that conversations would be had with those named in Weeke’s allegations.

“Will I have a conversation with Minister Harrison? Maybe even others? Sure,” he said.

“But these allegations, I don’t know what substance there is to them.”

-- With files from Wayne Mantyka and The Canadian Press.

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