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Saskatchewan Party fetes convicted murderer at throne speech

John Bell

November 5, 2022

It is like Saskatchewan looked at Alberta’s political zoo and said “Hold my Pilsner”.

The occasion was the ruling Saskatchewan Party’s throne speech, billed as a “tough on crime” document. So it was only natural the SP MLA from Thunder Creek, Lyle Stewart should invite his old friend and mentor, Colin Thatcher.

Name ring a bell? Thatcher was the Minister of Energy in Grant Devine’s Conservative government in 1983. He was also the spawn of Ross Thatcher, Saskatchewan’s Liberal premier in the 1960s. In 1983 he also beat and then shot to death his ex-wife, Joanne Geiger, in her garage. He was tried for first degree murder, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

During the trial a picture of predatory domestic violence and infidelity emerged. There was a long, nasty divorce which was mostly decided in Geiger’s favour. Then in 1981 someone shot Joanne through her kitchen window with a hunting rifle. She was wounded in the shoulder but recovered. No one was ever charged for that crime.

Thatcher was paroled in 2006 and wrote a big book about how he was framed that nobody read, and these days has time as well as blood on his hands. So Stewart invited his old friend along to the Legislature shindig. Stewart was Thatcher’s assistant back in the 80s, giving young Lyle a start in the only business he’s ever known – party politics. He’s no obscure back-bencher. Through the years he has held various cabinet positions in Conservative and then SP governments, and leading roles in his party. It is hard to believe his decision to invite Thatcher was a surprise to his colleagues.

After Thatcher’s appearance caused major blowback and embarrassment for premier Scott Moe, Steward issued the standard ‘you caught me’ apology: “In retrospect I made a mistake.”

Seen in retrospect Stewart’s whole career is a mistake.

To be clear, criminals who have served their time should not be discriminated against. But neither should they be special guests in the legislature especially if they are unrepentant misogynists and murderous abusers.

As for Scott Moe’s “tough on crime” throne speech, that was largely window dressing to distract from the Saskatchewan’ Party’s relentless drive to privatize services and sell off publicly owned assets that put billions into government coffers. Latest on the block: Saskatchewan’s government owned liquor stores. This is a double victory for privatizing profiteers; profits from liquor sales were directed to public health services.

Update: Nov. 10

Health care activist Megan Johnston was thrown out of the Saskatchewan legislature for wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Abortion is Health Care". Security guards would not let her back in to hear debates on Scott Moe's cuts and privatization unless she turned the shirt inside out.

Abortion is also a perfectly acceptable word in our language and Johnston's expulsion is the worst kind of far-right censorship. And it is gaining Saskatchewan more attention for its regressive policies.

Johnston and other activists have been campaigning in the province, raising funds to buy billboars saying "Abortion is Health Care." Their campaign can be reached at abortionhealthcare,ca. 

So to recap: murderous spouse abusers are weelcome in the Saskatchewan legislature, but women's healthcare activists are not. No Moe questions.



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