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‘I’m sorry for those words’: Saskatchewan minister responds to criticism over Thatcher comments

Saskatchewan Public Safety Minister Christine Tell speaks to reporters Tuesday about convicted killer Colin Thatcher's appearance at the Throne Speech. File / Global News

Saskatchewan Policing, Corrections and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said she “fully supports and embraces”  the apology made by Premier Scott Moe Monday after convicted killer Colin Thatcher was invited to throne speech ceremonies last week.

Tell has faced backlash from the provincial Opposition and the public after being questioned about Thatcher’s appearance last Wednesday and saying, “Colin Thatcher is a citizen who has gone through the justice system, gone through the courts, did his time in incarceration. He’s no paid that debt to society that society has deemed for him to do and he’s living his life as a citizen of our province. He has a right to be here.”

Thatcher was granted full parole in 2006 after receiving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-wife JoAnn Wilson in 1984.

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“For those words, that’s wrong and I’m sorry for those words. But whatever words I used inappropriately in no way takes away from the horrendous situation that this subject was convicted for,” she said.

“I say ‘free’ as opposed to being incarcerated. So I may have used another word inappropriately. He’s not in jail, he’s out on parole, with standard conditions of every person who is on life with parole.”

“It wasn’t the appropriate response,” she added.

“The remarks she made Wednesday were incredibly offensive,” said Saskatchewan NDP Deputy Minister Nicole Sarauer when asked about Tell’s comments on the day of the throne speech.

“Happy to hear her apologize today. Not sure why it took so long.”

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Thatcher was invited to Speech from the Throne ceremonies by Saskatchewan Party MLA Lyle Stewart.

Stewart has since been stripped of his executive council duties as legislative secretary to the premier.

On Monday, Moe apologized for Thatcher’s appearance at the beginning of question period proceedings, saying, “To all those who attended, to all members of this assembly and to all the people of Saskatchewan, I offer my unequivocal apology.”

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Colin Thatcher is the son of former premier Ross Thatcher and served as energy minister under Grant Devine’s Progressive Conservative government of 1982, before being convicted of murdering his ex-wife JoAnn Wilson.

Click to play video: 'Inviting a convicted wife killer to Sask. throne speech an ‘error in judgement’: MLA'
Inviting a convicted wife killer to Sask. throne speech an ‘error in judgement’: MLA

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