Premier calls NDP MLA an “extremist” and alleges involvement in protest

Saskatoon-University MLA Jennifer Bowes. (Photo: Tanner Wallace-Scribner/620 CKRM)

Premier Scott Moe and his government are accusing the Offical Opposition of involvement in an incident that disrupted proceedings at the provincial legislature earlier this week.

On Monday, the sitting was brought to a halt for about half an hour as security removed over 100 protesters calling for the Moe government to join calls for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Moe stated that this disruption marked the first time in the province’s history that the democratic process was halted, raising questions about the role of the NDP in organizing the protest, labelling the NDP as “a collection of extremist individuals.”

House Leader Jeremy Harrison alleged that Saskatoon-Univesity MLA Jennifer Bowes orchestrated or helped organize the incident. The tensions escalated on Tuesday when Estevan MLA Lori Carr brought up a censure motion against Bowes, accusing her of making a “lewd gesture” from her seat.

Moe reiterated that the government believes “at least one member of the NDP caucus” shared details on social media about the gathering, which he claimed proves claims of organizing the disruption.

In total, Bowes is facing multiple allegations, including taking part in the planning of the protest, making a lewd gesture, and using “extreme language” when describing the actions of Israel, calling it genocide.

In response to the accusations, NDP Leader Carlo Beck stated that the claim of NDP involvement in the disruption is not valid. She also criticized using terms like “extremist” and emphasized that such language is not helpful.

Bowes said that the allegations against her are unfounded.

When addressing them specifically, Bowes said he encouraged members from her riding group to attend the sitting but had no idea that the demonstration and protest would happen.

“To come here, to their legislature and participate in democracy, I think that was legitimate. I think, as elected officials, we should be encouraging people to come here and to peacefully, uh, express their discontent if they do not agree with what the government is doing,” she said.” “I was not aware of any planned actions.”

As for the social media post, Bowes said she did share a post, but it was advising her followers of what was happening, and nowhere on the poster did it mention a protest or demonstration.

“I shared to my political Instagram account, to the stories, a poster that was essentially advising people that there would be people coming to the legislature.”

While the story is no longer up, the post to the left is believed to be the poster shared on social media that Moe said “proves claims of organizing the disruption.”

Moe’s government also pointed to the Bowes standing up during the initial “Cease Fire Now” chants to show her involvement.

Bowes denied involvement and said she was standing in solitary with them.

“I think that they were expressing a great deal of hurt and anger. I think their reasons for being here are legitimate,” she said. “I think that as elected officials, we have a duty to represent the people who we were elected to serve, and sometimes that takes different forms. Sometimes that looks like a question in question period, sometimes that looks like a petition that is undertaken, and sometimes it is a gesture that, in my case, was physical in nature.”

Another allegation made towards Bowes is that she made a lewd gesture during Tuesday’s sitting. When asked, Bowes didn’t recall or couldn’t think of anything that she did that would be considered lewd but did admit to using a “ra ra” gesture sarcastically.

“There was an allegation made that I made a lewd gesture, which I will absolutely say did not happen. The gesture that I’ve been told I’m being accused of is something that I certainly did not do,” Bowes said. “There was a point, sort of in the back and forth, I sort of cheered on the government side. Is that the best way of conducting myself? Perhaps not, but certainly the allegation being made is not something that there’s any truth to.”

The final allegation brought forward against Bowes is her use of “extreme language,” calling what is happening currently in Gaza genocide. That is the only allegation Bowes confirms but denies that it is ‘extreme.’

“It is my personal belief that what is happening right now will be found to constitute genocide,” she said. “Of course, there is a legal process to determine whether or not genocide has occurred or not, and I strongly hope that that process will be undertaken swiftly. There is a process in place; there are set criteria under the U.N. Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, and there’s the process through the U.N. and the Hague that will have to be undertaken.”

Bowes feels these allegations are the government’s way of distracting the public from their scandals.

“I think the government is on the run. I think they have a lot of scandals that they are currently trying to distract the population and the people of Saskatchewan from,” she said. “There’s all kinds of dirty business in politics, and I think they will take every opportunity to make something out of nothing.

“It is a tempest in a teapot. They are trying to distract the people of Saskatchewan from their own incredible failures,” she added.

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