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'The information that he had': Moe says he believes former house leader didn't remember bringing gun into legislative building

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Former Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison has apologized for what he calls a “terrible mistake” after it became known that he brought a firearm into the legislature approximately a decade ago.

“I want to deeply apologize to the people of the province, to people who had worked in the building ten years ago at the time this occurred – it shouldn’t have occurred. It was an error in judgement. It was terrible mistake and I take accountability for that mistake,” he said, speaking with CTV News on Monday.

On May 24, Harrison’s resignation as Government House Leader was accepted by Premier Scott Moe.

The chain of events that led to his stepping down began on the final day of the legislative sitting.

Speaker Randy Weekes leveled a long list of allegations at Harrison and Deputy House Leader Lori Carr.

Weekes alleged he was harassed and intimidated during his tenure as speaker.

He also claimed that Harrison had desired to carry a handgun inside the legislature and had flouted legislative rules when he brought a hunting rifle into the building.

After “unequivocally denying” all Weekes’ allegations, Harrison said he recalled bringing a hunting rifle into the legislature on one occasion following discussions with his family.

Harrison claims the incident occurred on a weekend about a decade ago. Stopping at the legislature while travelling to a hunting trip – he brought his rifle into the building rather than leaving it inside his vehicle.

“We take firearm safety very, very safely in rural Saskatchewan. [That’s] where I’m from and where I continue to live,” Harrison said.

“One of the cornerstones of that is that you do not leave a firearm, a long gun, unattended in a parked vehicle.”

Canada’s Firearms Act plainly states guidelines for the safe transportation of firearms.

The Act states that if a non-restricted firearm is left in an unattended vehicle – the gun must be unloaded, secured in a locked case inside a lockable compartment, such as a trunk.

If the vehicle does not have a lockable compartment – the act states that the weapon should be hidden out of plain sight and the vehicle should be locked.

NDP Leader Carla Beck was blunt when stating her thoughts on Harrison’s claim that he recounted bring the gun inside the legislature days after Weekes made his accusations.

“I simply don't think it's credible. I don't think it passes the [smell] test for anyone in the province. There was a lie,” she said. “When we got the news today that the Premier was going to be making an announcement at Government House we thought that a decision had been made. As I said on Friday, this is a question of leadership and again, the premier has failed to meet to meet the mark on this.”

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Premier Moe said he takes responsibility for the situation and for allowing a rift to develop between the speaker and the Government House Leader.

A rift he says ultimately led to Weekes publically listing his grievances.

“I need to be looking at as a leader of the governing party, what [I can] do to ensure that these types of relationships don't break down again,” he said. “I think that's what this comes down to.”

When asked if Harrison’s claim of the allegations being “unequivocally false” and then reversing course classified as lying – Moe disagreed.

“No, he gave me the information that he had and he clarified it at the first opportunity,” Moe said.

Harrison will continue to serve as the Minister of Trade and Export Development.

Former Deputy House Leader Lori Carr has now assumed the role of Government House Leader.

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