Saskatchewan kicked off its fall legislative session Wednesday with a tough-on-crime throne speech presented while a former cabinet minister turned notorious convicted killer sat in the chamber.
Eighty-four years old Colin Thatcher said he was delighted with the invitation from his friend Lyle Stewart, a member of the Saskatchewan Party legislature. So, he gladly accepted that.
After separation, Thatcher and his ex-wife had a bitter custody dispute over their three children. Thatcher’s ex-wife JoAnn Wilson was found beaten and shot to death in the garage of her Regina home in 1983. This murder was the result of their bitter relationship.
Thatcher, an energy minister under former Conservative premier Grant Devine, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He served 22 years behind bars and was granted full parole in 2006.
He has always maintained his innocence.
Thatcher came wearing a blazer and a bolo tie. He sat next to a provincial police chief as Lt.-Gov. Russell Mirasty delivered the speech laying out the agenda for the session.
Mirasty said the government is set in the coming days to introduce legislation akin to Alberta’s proposed sovereignty act,the Saskatchewan First Act, which would define that Saskatchewan has exclusive jurisdiction over its natural resources and economic future.
But the focus on cracking down on crime, with Thatcher’s attendance, drew the most reaction.
“Many Saskatchewan residents see the federal government as too lenient 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 action to crack down on the illegal and violent use of firearms in the commission of crimes to ensure families feel safe in their communities.”
Stewart told The Canadian Press, “Colin was a longtime MLA, and he’s a constituent of mine and a friend of mine and that’s why I (invited him) and I’m happy that I did,”
“If anybody has a right to be here, it’s Colin Thatcher,” he added.
According to Stewart Thatcher is “a fine individual,” who had a tough life in prison. Both Stewart and Minister of Corrections and Policing Christine Tell said they weren’t concerned about the optics of having Thatcher at the speech.
A storm of condemnation has arisen in social media.
The fact that that murderer Colin Thatcher has the shamelessness to crawl out of his house is shocking enough. The fact that this murderous abuser was invited to the legislature is unfathomable in its pure perversity. https://t.co/FuSXfwYwwE— Robert Janes (@rjmjanes) October 27, 2022