Minister Responsible For Policing In Saskatchewan Threatens Opposition MLA With Police Investigation For Asking Questions In Question Period!
"I apologize for that remark," Yogi Huyghebaert told the legislature Thursday, a day after he said he was just joking when he asked New Democrat Kevin Yates about a possible police visit.
Huyghebaert, also the minister responsible for corrections and public safety, said Thursday he does not have any influence over police investigations, as his comment suggested. On Wednesday, Huyghebaert said he wasn't trying to threaten Yates and was just "giving back" some of what he was receiving. He was also upset that Yates called him a liar the day before.
At the root of the dispute was a debate the two men have been having about the mistaken early release of a sex offender, with Yates asking why the minister didn't tell the public about it."
"Yates in turn accused Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Yogi Huyghebaert of suggesting to him in heckles that he is "under police investigation for asking these questions," adding that Huyghebaert had made a gesture to him of holding his hands together as if in cuffs.
"These things are an attempt to intimidate somebody not to ask questions and in this environment you can imagine there is a great deal of acrimony." After the NDP had raised in the house the case of a prisoner who had been released early from the Regina Correctional Centre, Huyghebaert ordered an internal investigation into how information had leaked from the department.
Huyghebaert initially told reporters that Yates was "totally incorrect" but then said he had spoken of police while heckling. "I've been getting a lot of push from the other side in relation to this story and I'm getting stuff said to me on a continuing basis. I think my pushback to him was ... 'Have you got a visit from the police yet?' I think that was my exact comment,' " he said.
Huyghebaert, a veteran MLA who was appointed to cabinet in May, defended his heckle as being "in the heat of the house" and that it "was not publicly said." He said he did not intend to threaten Yates and denied he had ever made the handcuff gesture, but in response to reporters' questions he did say it was probably not an appropriate comment.