Alberta teachers' union boss sorry for 'additional hurt' caused by inviting convicted murderer to convention

The Alberta Teachers Association is apologizing to the family of a murdered British Columbia woman for inviting the man who killed her to speak at a teachers' convention in Calgary.

'Mr. Evans committed a violent and heinous act and we do not condone his actions in any way'

Andrew Evans, who was convicted of second-degree murder, was booked to speak at the 2019 Calgary teachers’ convention. (Calgary City Teachers’ Convention website)

The Alberta Teachers' Association is apologizing to the family of a murdered British Columbia woman for inviting the man who killed her to speak at a teachers' convention in Calgary.

Andrew Evans, a former drug counsellor, was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2007 strangling death of Nicole Parisien in Vancouver. He moved back to Calgary after his release from prison.

Evans was booked to speak about his recovery from addiction, alongside a Calgary police officer, according to the description for the panel at the Calgary City Teachers' Convention in a session put on by the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre.

The ATA initially defended Evans' appearance, saying his struggles with addiction would convey a message "of hope."

But late Wednesday, the association cancelled his appearance.

On Thursday, the president of the ATA, Greg Jeffery, said he was sorry and that the ATA will make a $5,000 donation to the Stardale Women's Group in honour of Parisien.

"I want to reiterate what we have said all along: Mr. Evans committed a violent and heinous act and we do not condone his actions in any way," Jeffery said in a statement.

"We also continue to express sincere condolences to the family and friends of Nicole Parisien. To the family of Nicole: We are sorry for the additional hurt this story has caused."

Parisien's mother, Marilyn Wedholm, is praising that decision.

"I'm proud they thought about it after. I'm proud they honoured my daughter," she said. 

Jeffery said the ATA will review its practices so that such a mistake doesn't happen again.