Cabinet minister apologizes for defending Colin Thatcher at throne speech

Saskatchewan’s policing minister has apologized for defending the attendance of a notorious convicted killer at her government’s tough-on-crime throne speech last week.

Christine Tell says she shares Premier Scott Moe’s apology from Monday.

She says she was wrong and she’s sorry for the words she used.

Colin Thatcher, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1983 killing of his ex-wife, was invited to the speech by legislature member Lyle Stewart.

Both Stewart and Tell had previously said they weren’t concerned about the optics of having Thatcher in the audience for the Saskatchewan Party government’s throne speech.

Tell also said last week that the 84-year-old convict had a right to be there as a free man who had paid his debt to society.

Tell told reporters Tuesday that her initial reaction was inappropriate and Stewart made a very bad choice by inviting Thatcher.

She also acknowledged the comment about Thatcher being a free man was wrong, since he is still serving a life sentence and reports to a parole officer.

“Whatever words I used inappropriately in no way takes away from the horrendous situation that this subject was convicted for,” Tell said, without referring to Thatcher by name.

“I don’t want to acknowledge him.”

Thatcher’s ex-wife JoAnn Wilson was found beaten and shot to death in the garage of her Regina home in 1983. Thatcher, who was an energy minister under former Conservative premier Grant Devine, was sentenced to life in prison.

He served 22 years behind bars before he was granted full parole in 2006.

Stewart was stripped of his legislative assembly duties on Monday, the same day Moe offered an apology.

Moe, who said after the throne speech that he had nothing to apologize for, said he took the weekend to reflect and that everyone needs to be a leader to stop domestic violence.

The throne speech called for making communities safer with initiatives including a marshals service to help RCMP and municipal police forces in the province.

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