Ontario won’t seek profits on Thatcher book; Saskatchewan says it will

REGINA — Ontario will not try to stop convicted wife killer Colin Thatcher from collecting money on a new book, but Saskatchewan says it has no intention of allowing him to pocket the profits.

REGINA — Ontario will not try to stop convicted wife killer Colin Thatcher from collecting money on a new book, but Saskatchewan says it has no intention of allowing him to pocket the profits.

In a letter sent to Thatcher’s publisher, Toronto’s ECW Press, the Ontario attorney general’s office said it will not take action under a provincial law that prohibits profiting from recounting crimes.

The legislation is meant to stop criminals from keeping the money if they sell their crime stories. But the Ontario attorney general’s office said in an email to The Canadian Press that it’s leaving the responsibility up to officials in Saskatchewan.

“As Mr. Thatcher is a resident of Saskatchewan, this matter falls most appropriately within the jurisdiction of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General,” said the email from Valerie Hopper, with Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley’s office.

“It is our understanding that Saskatchewan recently passed new proceeds-of-crime legislation and questions regarding this legislation as it relates to Mr. Thatcher’s activities should be directed to the Ministry of Justice and attorney general of Saskatchewan.”

Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s justice minister and attorney general, reiterated Monday that the province will use its new law to seize the profits of Thatcher’s book.

“We passed this law knowing that this publication was coming,” Morgan said in an interview. “Mr. Thatcher is a resident of Saskatchewan. The crime was committed in Saskatchewan, so our expectation is that our law applies and that we would be able to receive the funds.”

This is the first time that Saskatchewan has taken action under the new proceeds of crime legislation.

Morgan said the process of seizing the profits from Thatcher’s book has already begun and both Thatcher and his publisher are aware of the province’s intentions. But the minister could not say whether Thatcher plans to fight the seizure of his book profits.

“We don’t what position they’re taking yet.”

Morgan introduced Saskatchewan’s own Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act in May after word of the pending book prompted public discussion and a debate about whether the province needed to act.

Like similar acts in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Alberta, the Saskatchewan legislation addresses the “recounting” of a crime by criminals for financial exploitation. The act allows the province to seize profits and forward them to victims of the crime in question or to a victims’ support fund.

The Saskatchewan legislation also borrows from the Alberta law to include the phrase “expression of thoughts or feelings” about the crime — and it’s that wording officials hope will cover the Thatcher book when it hits shelves in September.

In the book, entitled “Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame,” Thatcher, a former provincial cabinet minister, asserts his innocence in the murder of his ex-wife, JoAnn Wilson.

Wilson was bludgeoned and shot to death in the garage of her Regina home across the street from the Saskatchewan legislature in 1983. Thatcher was convicted of first-degree murder a year later and spent 22 years behind bars.

Publisher Jack David has said he doesn’t believe such laws would cover the Thatcher book. He also notes that Saskatchewan officials have not yet read the book.

David said the book, due to hit store shelves Sept. 1, describes the trial and Thatcher’s time behind bars, but not the gruesome slaying of his ex-wife. It also contains evidence uncovered by Thatcher’s private investigator that puts some witness testimony into dispute, said David.

The Ontario government letter points out that its decision does not apply to other governments or jurisdictions. David agreed that it’s “a handover from one government to another.”

“I think it means that they’re saying to Saskatchewan, ’OK, you guys, we’re going to toss the ball over to you. You can do whatever you want to do.’ It’s closer to home, obviously,” David told The Canadian Press in a phone interview on Monday.

“Does this change things at all? They’ll see the book and they’ll chew over it and have to decide.”

Just Posted

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

Red Deer dancer attends national summer school

Dancers with others from across Canada and beyond

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Saudi Arabia spat affecting Canadians embarking on hajj, community members say

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa… Continue reading

Tug carrying up to 22,000 litres of fuel capsizes in Fraser River off Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month