Saskatchewan

'He lied': Sask. NDP leader slams premier after heated debate about anti-carbon tax rally

Premier Scott Moe's attendance at an upcoming rally against the carbon tax led to accusations and anger during Tuesday's question period.

Premier Scott Moe defends attendance at upcoming rally

Opposition Leader Ryan Meili says Scott Moe lied in comments the premier made regarding Meili's reference to people who will attend an upcoming rally in Regina. (Michael Bell/Canadian Press)

Premier Scott Moe's attendance at an upcoming anti-carbon tax rally led to accusations and anger during Tuesday's question period at the Saskatchewan Legislature.

On Monday, Moe told reporters that NDP Leader Ryan Meili labelled those attending Thursday's Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax "as a racist."

In an answer in the house on Tuesday, Moe repeated the statement.

"He labeled them as racist. In fairness, he didn't use that exact word but he used this word — he labelled the hard-working Saskatchewan people attending this rally as anti-Islamic, as anti-Semitic." 

But before Moe could continue, Meili heckled back, "I did not. Scott Moe, you should be embarrassed with yourself."

Meili then said something off microphone, which Speaker Mark Docherty asked him to apologize for. Docherty asked twice more, after which Meili apologized and withdrew the remark.

The tense exchanges continued.

Before Moe took to his feet to complete his answer, Docherty had to interrupt a raucous assembly.

"Is this the way we're going to play? Is this it?" he asked.

"Well, lets clean it up."

Moe said he would be at the rally to speak to those in attendance. "I'll be there and I'll explain why the leader of the Opposition is not."

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Meili took exception to Moe's statements.

"He lied to you in the scrum here yesterday. He lied in the House and he promised to lie at the rally on Thursday. I said nothing that goes anywhere near what he said in the house today or in the scrum," he said.

"For him to suggest that we're tarring [rally attendees] with such a brush is irresponsible. It's reckless and it's wrong."

Meili said he continues to bring up the rally in question period because he has not received answers he is looking for from Moe on his position on the yellow-vest movement, the United Nations compact on migration or on climate change.

Meili asked Moe if he would show "courage" and address these topics at the rally.

"The leader of the Opposition is simply going to have to attend to find out what we're going to say," Moe said.

Moe blames NDP for tone of debate

"It's a disappointing tone in the legislative assembly," Moe said about the recent debates after question period.

"A tone that has began, really, over the course the last number of weeks, but really I think amplified with yesterday's question period and the accusations and the words used by the leader of the Opposition."

Scott Moe plans to speak at an upcoming rally in Regina. (CBC)

On Monday, Meili claimed the rally is being "organized by yellow vests" — a reference to protests across Canada in recent months that have focused on a range of issues, including the federal government's carbon tax, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the country's immigration policies.

Meili also claimed the premier was helping organize the Thursday Regina rally. Moe said the government has no role other than planning to attend and speak.

He said the rally is in opposition to federal government bills, a lack of pipelines and the carbon tax, and nothing more.

Organizers have banned yellow vests from the rally.

Meili said he would not attend because of concerns over ties to the yellow-vest movement and some positions shared on climate change.

"The insinuations that came yesterday was that I should not attend the rally," Moe said. "Thereby, no one in the province should attend the rally because of the views that the leader of the Opposition has."

The premier said he has been told more than 500 trucks will be in a convoy descending on Queensbury Centre in Regina for Thursday afternoon's rally.

"We have a great story to tell here in Saskatchewan. And on Thursday I'm going to go tell it."

About the Author

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for 12 years. He hosts the CBC podcast On the Ledge. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

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