A leaked letter says Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison nearly triggered a security incident when he walked into the legislature in camouflage gear toting a long gun in a case.

The Opposition NDP said Wednesday the document stokes further suspicions of Harrison’s story and reinforces that he has lost trust and needs to be fired from Premier Scott Moe’s cabinet.

“These are not minor inconsistencies,” NDP Leader Carla Beck told reporters while presenting the letter, which was also obtained by The Canadian Press.

“The minister has been caught again red-handed in a lie. This has to be it. The premier has to show some leadership here.”

Beck noted the Saskatchewan Party member took the gun into the legislature in April 2016, more than a year after a lone gunman killed a ceremonial guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa before entering Parliament, where he was shot to death.

“There was heightened security (after that). We saw a number of security measures come in, and this is (Harrison's) judgment?” Beck said.

When the matter came to light two weeks ago, Harrison denied it happened.

Earlier this week, he admitted he did bring a gun inside the legislature but insisted security was kept in the loop.

The letter, however, says security was not informed.

Cabinet minister @JHarrisonMLA in camouflage with gun nearly caused security alert at legislature. #SKPoli

The letter, dated April 29, 2016, is from the acting sergeant-at-arms. The legislature was not sitting at the time, as the provincial election had been two weeks earlier.

The name of the person the letter was sent to is redacted.

On that day, the letter says things got tense when security noticed an unrecognizable man wearing camouflage holding a gun case walking towards the legislature.

The letter says a desk officer "was at the point of keying his radio and announcing that there was a GUN.”

A security officer got closer to the man to get his attention by saying, "Sir,” before realizing it was the legislature member.

"Harrison walked past the (security) kiosk carrying his gun case and disappeared around the corner. The gun itself was not visible, however, it was obvious that it was a gun case," the letter says.

It adds that Harrison was going to go coyote hunting with the Speaker at the time.

In the letter, the acting sergeant-at-arms writes security "should be advised in advance of this type of behaviour, even by an MLA.”

The letter also says security should be allowed to confiscate all weapons. "There is no need for anyone to have a gun in this building under these circumstances.”

The letter is the latest turn in the controversy that began May 16 and has embroiled both Moe and his governing Saskatchewan Party.

On the last day of spring sitting, Speaker Randy Weekes publicly accused Harrison of: once bringing a hunting rife into the building; wanting to carry a handgun; and threatening the Speaker by flashing the inside of his suit jacket as if to suggest he had a gun.

A day later, Moe told reporters the Speaker's allegations were “unequivocally false.”

In the days that followed, as pressure mounted on Harrison to explain himself, he admitted in a statement that he did bring in a gun into the legislature about a decade ago to prevent it from being stolen from his truck.

He apologized and said he was quitting his job as government house leader but staying in cabinet.

Harrison also insisted that he brought his gun into the legislature "with the knowledge of security officials."

On Monday, he went further, telling reporters he initially forgot about taking the gun into the legislature and that his family had helped jog his memory.

He also said he had notified security but did not say which security officials.

A spokesperson for Moe's office said Wednesday the premier stands by Harrison and has a different interpretation of the minister's statement about security.

“(Harrison) indicated (he carried in the gun) with the knowledge of security officials,” said the spokesperson.

Weekes has cut ties with the Saskatchewan Party. Earlier in the sitting, the Speaker also accused fellow caucus members, including Harrison, of sending him inappropriate text messages to try to intimidate him in his role as the impartial facilitator of house debate.

Harrison did admit to sending a text to Weekes with an expletive and said it wasn't appropriate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2024.

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