Moe's response to questions about chemtrails, COVID at community meeting shows lack of leadership: Sask. NDP

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe listens during a news conference, in Whistler, B.C., in June 2023. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The leader of Saskatchewan's Official Opposition says Premier Scott Moe should be shutting down conspiracy theories, not entertaining them, after a video of a recent meeting in Moe's home constituency surfaced online.

The two-hour meeting, held about six weeks ago in the village of Speers — which is northwest of Saskatoon and in Moe's constituency of Rosthern-Shellbrook — started with the premier giving a speech, followed by a question and answer session.

A video of the meeting was posted on the website last month. The description indicates some of those in attendance were not residents.

Moe discussed familiar topics like his Saskatchewan Party government's opposition to the federal Liberal government, its carbon pricing policy and the province's parental rights law.

The content of the question and answer portion, though, has drawn criticism of the NDP leader.

In the video, one person claimed aircraft are dropping chemicals on the population.

"What are you going to do about the barium, aluminum, strontium, lithium, atrazine, raw kerosene, raw gasoline and raw diesel that's being dumped on your province by God knows who?" asks one man.

"I believe he is talking about chemtrails," and "it's a fact," can be heard from the crowd.

"I am starting to hear about this through emails into our office the last number of months and I, honestly, I'll have to do some more work looking into it," Moe responded.

"I don't know if there is as co-ordinated an approach as some folks think, but obviously there are emissions that are coming out of the jets that are flying over and the prospect is, or the projection is, there is going to be a lot more jets flying in the not too distant future than there is today."

David Keith, a physicist and professor in the department of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, has been the target of those who believe chemtrail conspiracies.

"We've actually done some polling results that suggest some significant fraction of Canadians and Americans, like 10 or 20 per cent, believe their government is somehow part of a conspiracy that is using commercial aircraft to spray some kind of toxins, where the purported purpose might be mind control or mass murder or who knows what," Keith told host Stefani Langenegger in an interview with CBC's The Morning Edition.

"This conspiracy theory is out there for sure, and the question is why the premier responded the way he did."

LISTEN |The Morning Edition asks a physicist about the chemtrails conspiracy:

Keith listened to the question and Moe's response.

"Scott Moe didn't agree there was a conspiracy, but he said he'd heard things for months and they were looking into it," said Keith.

"I think it's possible to do better than that. It's possible to find polite ways to say that it's just really inconceivable that there is such a large-scale program."

Keith said aircraft release pollution, unburned hydrocarbons and unburned aviation kerosene jet fuel.

"But it's essentially inconceivable that there's some secret program to put highly toxic extra material inside jet fuel," he said.

Moe should apologize to health-care workers: NDP

The Opposition leader was also bothered by Moe's response to claims at the meeting that the Saskatchewan Health Authority was involved in "instituting the COVID pandemic with a delivery system for biological weapons" from China.

The questioner said the health authority is subject to "high treason complaints" and has done nothing "but spread disease," and asked what Moe planned to do in response.

"I'll read your document," Moe responded.

At a news conference on Wednesday, NDP Leader Carla Beck said Moe should apologize to health-care workers.

"It shouldn't have been difficult for the premier to simply say, 'You know what, that's not the case. Saskatchewan health-care workers, the SHA, were not involved in poisoning the population or delivering biological weapons during the pandemic,'" said Beck.

"But you didn't hear him say that, which is a problem."

She also said even in an election year and speaking in his constituency, Moe should have challenged some questions.

"I understand it's uncomfortable to look someone in the eye and say, 'You know what, I disagree with you. That's not what we're going to do,' but that's leadership."

The NDP leader also said she hoped the premier had not directed staff to "look into" chemtrails.

In response to Beck's criticism, a Wednesday statement from a government spokesperson said Moe has "taken every opportunity to meet with people in his constituency and answer their questions about government policy" since he was elected in 2011.

Initially, the statement claimed Moe was invited to the meeting by the mayor of Speers, Ken Rebeyka.

But Rebeyka told CBC he did not invite the premier, and the event was not organized or hosted by either the village or the rural municipality.

He said residents have rented the town hall and hosted politicians, including Saskatchewan Rivers MLA Nadine Wilson when she was leader of the Saskatchewan United Party.

The government said it made an "error" in stating the mayor extended an invitation.