Convicted wife killer Colin Thatcher guest at Saskatchewan Throne Speech on Crime
Saskatchewan kicked off its fall legislative session on Wednesday with a tough-on-crime Speech from the Throne delivered as a former cabinet minister turned notorious killer sat in the chamber.
Colin Thatcher, 84, said he was happy to accept an invitation from his good friend, Lyle Stewart, a member of the Saskatchewan Party legislature.
Dressed in a blazer and bolo tie, Thatcher sat next to a provincial police chief as lieutenant governor. Russell Mirasty delivered the address setting out the session’s agenda.
Mirasty said the government is preparing to introduce legislation in the coming days similar to Alberta’s proposed sovereignty law, the Saskatchewan First Act, which would define Saskatchewan as having exclusive jurisdiction over its natural resources and future. economic.
But it was the focus on tackling crime, with Thatcher’s presence, that elicited the most reactions.
“Many Saskatchewan residents view the federal government as being too soft on violent offenders who commit gun crimes and too focused on punishing law-abiding gun owners,” Mirasty said. .
« This session, my government will take significant steps to crack down on the illegal and violent use of firearms in the commission of crimes to ensure that families feel safe in their communities. »
Thatcher’s ex-wife, JoAnn Wilson, was found beaten and shot in the garage of her Regina home in 1983. The murder followed a tense rift between the couple and a bitter custody dispute over their three children.
Thatcher, energy minister under former Conservative Prime Minister Grant Devine, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He spent 22 years behind bars before being granted full parole in 2006.
He has always maintained his innocence.
When a reporter in the roundhouse asked him if he thought the province needed tougher action on crime, Thatcher laughed and said « enough » before walking away. He then joined Stewart for tea at a social gathering.
« Colin was a longtime MP, and he’s a constituent of mine and a friend of mine and that’s why I (invited him) and I’m glad I did, » Stewart told La Canadian Press, adding that it was the first time he’d invited Thatcher to a throne speech.
« If anyone has the right to be here, it’s Colin Thatcher. »
He added that Thatcher, « a wonderful person », had a difficult life because of his time in prison.
Stewart and Minister of Corrections and Policing Christine Tell said they were not concerned about the optics of having Thatcher on the speech.
Premier Scott Moe was unavailable for comment.
Thatcher has already visited the legislature as a convicted killer. In 2006, he attended a ceremony honoring deceased prime ministers which included his father, former Liberal Prime Minister Ross Thatcher.
Opposition NDP Leader Carla Beck called Thatcher’s invitation to attend Wednesday’s event « astounding ».
« This is a government that is showing us more and more that it’s out of touch, that it’s making sloppy mistakes, » Beck said.
The province’s rate of domestic violence is one of the highest in the country, she said.
“I would say that the decisions made and the incredible lack of self-awareness of this government today will not go unnoticed by the people of Saskatchewan. I’m sure.