May 2, 1917


Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I wonder who gets the best of it?

Subtopic:   Mv4 Y 2, 1917

Robert Bickerdike


I have no doubt that in time, especially when the Hon. Sir Robert Rogers returns, who I have no doubt will be a knight by then, they will make a very happy family. I am pleased to see these indications of a rapprochement, a symptom of what might lead up to a coalition Government until after the warsomething that all of us in this country who have boys in the trenches are hoping for- and if it should be that sacrificing my interests would act as a stepping stone to this much desired object I submit respectfully that I am willing to foe sacrificed.

When we were democratic to the hilt we would not have invoked custom for the purpose of continuing any great national crime such as legalized -murder by the State, sending the soul of our poor prodigals into eternity, when society can be just as well protected by sending them to the penitentiary. The right hon. leader of the Opposition made a reference to President Fallieres, who was really the greatest President the French Republic ever enjoyed, and probably purified France more than any other public man in the republic, not even excepting President MacMahon.

Subtopic:   Mv4 Y 2, 1917

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)


He was Irish.

Subtopic:   Mv4 Y 2, 1917

Robert Bickerdike


You cannot always tell by the name. The leader of the Opposition claims that Patrick Spain was an Italian. President Fallieres e*ys:

Among the unpleasant duties of the President of Prance is that of signing all death warrants issued in the Republic.

That is well'. He says, however, that there hould be a slight change in the arrangement, as follows:

Tire Judge who sentences the man to die should also act as his executioner.

If the Minister of Justice and the leader of the Opposition bad to do the hanging, I think they would send the men to the penitentiaries instead.

Subtopic:   Mv4 Y 2, 1917

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I have too many jobs


Subtopic:   Mv4 Y 2, 1917

Robert Bickerdike


President Fallieres claims that if this were the case it would do away with all legalized homicide. He further says:

I will not ask any man to do that which I myself am unwilling to do. I will do no murder, even for the State.

President Fallieres therefore commuted all death penalties to life imprisonment. Where there was a reasonable doubt about a man's guilt he pardoned him. He also says:

France must learn to take care of her criminals without killing them. It is a poor use to make of a man to take his life. It is an acknowledgment of our inefficiency. Then, a life sentence should hold out to a man the promise that a number of years of good behaviour and useful work will make him free. Penology must be made a science to the end that when we imprison a man we do it for his own good, with the intention of turning out a better man than we took in. Just as long as the State sets an example of killing its enemies, they must expect that individuals will occasionally kill theirs.

The right hon. leader of the Opposition says:

Whether or not the penalty of death is a deterrent is a much mooted question. Education has more to do with the prevention of crime than even the deterrent effect of the punishment, and in this country it can happily be said that cases of murder are very few, in fact, amongst the native population; they are becoming less and less frequent.

With that statement I quite agree. The right hon. leader of the Opposition goes on:

All the cases which have taken place recently have been amongst a class of foreigners who come from a country In which the crime of murder is a daily custom. Without being invidious, I believe that many crimes of that nature have been committed by Italians w-ho came from the South of Italy, where It is the ____imnnD nf every man to carry a stiletto.

With -this latter statement I can hardly agree. The only execution in the province of Quebec during 1916 was that of Paul dit-Lepine Renaud, and judging by the name, he could have hardly been an Italian.

The name of the young lad 10 p.m. lying under sentence of death in Winnipeg is Patrick Spain; that does not sound like an Italian either. So I think the contention of the right hon. leader of the Opposition that all the murders in Canada are committed by men who come from the south of Italy is wrong. I have no doubt the right hon. gentleman is aware that Italy abolished capital punishment years ago. Further on he said:

What is the most effective law? Shall we continue the law which we have had on the Statute Book ever since the country has been a country, and which is still a law among the most civilized nations of the earth? Or shall we be carried away by a feeling of humanity which is most commendable and most honourable?

Now, Sir, I think I- have proved to the right hon. gentleman that it is not the foreign element in Canada who are committing all the murders. With regard to the claim that capital punishment is right because it has been on the statute book ever since this country has been a country, and because it is still the law among the most civilized nations of the earth. I remember welil the time when the right hon. gentleman refused to follow custom, and claimed that this young nation was now grown up and should make the laws that were considered most necessary for our Dominion. Custom never did make right. With regard to his claim that this is still the law among the most civilized nations of the earth, I must also join issue with him. He claims that it is the most civilized nations of the world that retain capital punishment. On the contrary, the nations that have abolished capital punishment are not the

heathen or uncivilized nations, but just the reverse. According to the right hon. leader of the Opposition China is one of the most civilized nations of the world. China, Turkey, Japan, 'Germany and Austria-Hungary all have capital punishment. The other three nations that retain capital punishment are England, France and Spain. I am prepared to say that these are civilized nations, but they are the only civilized nations that retain capital punishment. Now, I desire to place opposite to these the names of the anti-hanging countries-I suppose, the right hon. gentleman would call them "the uncivilized nations." They are: Russia-surely, not an uncivilized country- Italy, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Portugal, Haiti, Switzerland and the United States (in part). I cannot understand the statement made by the right hon. gentleman. He quotes the "civilized nations" as the excuse for retaining capital punishment, and the greatest nation that retains it is China. If he holds China to be one of the civilized Christian nations of the world, of course he is quite entitled to his opinion.

I hold that the death penalty is the most atrocious form of bookkeeping in existence. The only way we can balance a debit is by a credit; you can only balance a negative by a positive; the only way to balance evil is by good. It is a most ridiculous thing to have a death entered on one side of the ledger, and then expect to balance it by turning'to the other side and writing down another death. That is the style of bookkeeping of the Minister of Justice, so far as this branch of his business is concerned. I would like to see capital punishment abolished for the sake of the innocent men who have been executed, and there have been a numbed of them. I wish to quote from a letter written by the man who, I suppose, is the greatest authority on prison reform on this side of the water, if not in the -world-Thomas Mott Osborne, of Sing Sing fame. He says:

As warden of Sing Sing I executed forty men, and I am convinced that four of them were innocent. One was a hoy of 20 years of age, and I knew he was innocent of the crime for which . he was condemned, because I know who committed the crime. But the ethics of the underworld are that one must never 'squeal on a paly This hoy lied, evaded, faced his trial, was condemned, and afterwards went to his death, just because he would not 'squeal on a pal.' Was not that boy worth saving?

Is there any man in this House who will say that it was not worth while to try to

save such a boy? Innocent of the crime, he would not go back on his pal, but kept his course even though it led to the electric chair. I say to the Minister of Justice that if boys of that kind are not worth saving, then life is not worth, living.

Now I desire to say a few words in answer to the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver). Hon. members will recollect that he quoted the Old Testament very freely. But the Old Testament is a record of the Jewish race, and it is difficult to see how it can be made the standard for Christians, especially when the Master enjoins His followers to forsake the old commands and gave them the new ones instead. He did not preach revenge but exhorted His followers to love their enemies. It must be recalled that the ancient prophets also looked to the time when swords would be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning-hooks.

The great promised Messiah was to be a Prince of Peace; not one who took life but one who reformed it. There are very few students of the New Testament who attempt the tremendous task of defending capital punishment on its authority, for its teaching is mercy, long suffering, kindness, forgiveness, and these are not compatible with breaking a man's neck. The Master, as we are told in the 12th chapter of John,

* commutes the sentence of stoning to death, which the Jewish law imposed upon the adulterous woman, to the sentence "go and sin no more," bidding her accuser who was without sin to cast the first stone.

Life sentence is practical. I am not asking for a substitute for capital punishment which has not been tried. The states and nations that have actually substituted life imprisonment for capital punishment bear the testimony that it works well. Governor Washburn, of Wisconsin, said in 1873:

It is twenty years since we have abolished capital punishment and no state can show greater freedom from homicidal crimes... . With a population embracing almost every nationality, statistics show that crime instead of increasing with the growth, has actually diminished.

Senator Jessup, of Iowa, says:

Murder in the first degree has not increased but has for four years decreased,

And he gives figures to prove the truth of his assertion, and adds the significant expression-"there is more lynch law where the scaffold is retained."

Under life sentences juries convict and that speedily. The Chief Justice of Rhode Island says:

My observation fully justifies me in saying that conviction is far more certain now in proper cases than when the death penalty was in vogue.

Chief Justice Denman says:

Extreme severity has operated more as a pre-ventitive to prosecutions than a preventitive to crime.

Judges often find their juries returning and asking, ''Can we find a verdict of manslaughter"? and when the judges say. "No you cannot," they return with a verdict, "Not guilty."

Capital Punishment Is Not Effective-Capital punishment is no punishment to the .criminal, it is a greater punishment to the innocent members of his family. It is no punishment to break a man's neck. Juries hesitate to convict when they know a man is going to be hanged, and as a consequence only one in seventy-three murderers brought to trial in United States is convicted on first degree murder.

Capital punishment does not deter from crime. It is a fact which can be demonstrated by .statistics that where capital punishment flourishes murder likewise flourishes. Crime was on the increase in England until the two hundred odd capital offenses were reduced to two, and the same promptness in convictions in England without the death penalty would prove more efficacious in preserving law and order.

Men who witness and who read of capital punishment become vindictive. The chaplain of Newgate prison says that he "never knew a condemned criminal that had not been at an execution." (Westminster Review, '81: 162). Rev. J. Roberts of Bristol says that out of 180 persons whom he visited after the sentence of death, 164 had attended a public hanging. Those who see the brutality of the death chamber are only made more brutal. Capital punishment often leads to such public sympathy that the hands of justice are thwarted.

Qapital punishment is not moral-The state sets a wrong example to its citizens by punishing its offenders with death. Capital punishment diminishes the sacredness with which we should regard life. It destroys the moral sense of the public. It arouses the worst passions in man. During public executions in England, the gallows were scenes of wild debauch, the public eating, drinking, cheering and railing at the victim. Suicides or deaths of an ex-

citing nature are likely to be followed by others of like nature

There are many who question the right of one man to take another man's life except in self-defense when other means of defense fail. Wendel Phillips says:

The theory of government, as Is universally held, is that a government is a social compact, a voluntary association of individuals, therefor, as an individual has no right to take hisown life, he cannot confer on the government the right to take it.

Capital punishment is not justice, for often it endangers the lives of the wrong persons. Many of our criminals are murderers toy circumstances; men of wealth aTe rarely hanged, and often innocent people have been unjustly deprived of their life.

The judgments of judges and juries are not always infallible. The great Lafayette said: ' .

I shall personally demand the abolishment of punishment by death until X have the infallibility of human judgment demonstrated to me.

There are a few who defend capital punishment from the authority of the Old Testament, but it must be remembered that the Lord set a mark on Cain, the first murderer,' and let him go. Moses taught a life for a life.

I must say a few word^ in reply to my hon. friend from Montcalm (Mr. Lafor-tune). I do not wish to be rude to him but he is certainly one of the greatest and most successful Crown prosecutors in the province of Quebec if not in the Dominion of Canada. But his trade has diminished considerably as we only had one case of murder in Quebec in 1916 and that was out of his jurisdiction. I would advise him, if we keep on diminishing our murders in Quebec, to make a contract for sp much a year instead of so much a head. I was going to say in reply to the hon. member that in comparatively Tecent years there have been striking instances of the fallibility of the most carefully constituted tribunals. My hon. friend claimed that justice was all right in the province pf Quebec especially and all over Canada. He said that if a poor man was accused of a serious crime the court appointed a solicitor to defend him and that he had fair play in every instance. Now, I shall just give you a few instances in which men have been hanged when they were not guilty of the crimes for which they were hanged. In 1865, for instance, an Italian named Pelizzioni was tried before Baron Martin for the murder of a fellow countryman in an affray at Saffron Hill. AfteT an elatoor-

ate trial he was found guilty and sentenced to death. In passing sentence, the judge took occasion to make the following remarks which should be remembered when the acumen begotten of " sound legal training " and long experience is relied on as a safeguard against error:

In my judgment, it is utterly impossible for the jury to have come to any other conclusion. The evidence was about the clearest and most direct that, after a long course of experience in the administration of criminal justice, I have ever known. I am as satisfied as I can be of anything that Gregorio did not inflict this wound and that you were the person who did.

The trial was over. The Home Secretary would most certainly, after the judge's expression of opinion, never have interfered. The date of the execution was fixed. Yet the unhappy prisoner was guiltless of the crime, and it was only through the exertion of a private individual that an innocent man was saved from the gallows. A fellow countryman of his, Mr. Negretti, succeeded in persuading the real culprit- the Gregorio so expressly exculpated by the judge-'to come forward and acknowledge the crime. He was subsequently tried for manslaughter and convicted, while Pelli-zioni received a free pardon.

Again, in 1877, two -men named Jackson and Greenwood were tried at the Liverpool Assizes for a serious offense. They weig found guilty. The judge expressed approval of the verdict and sentenced them to ten years' penal servitude. Subsequently fresh facts came to light and the men received a free pardon.

Once more, in 1879, Hebron was1 tried for the murder of a policeman. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. An agitation for a reprieve immediately followed. The sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. Three years after, the notorious Peace, just 'before his execution for -the murder of Mt. Diason, confessed that he had committed the murder for which Hebron had been sentenced.

Mr. Charles Burleigh Galbraith, writing for Friend's Intelligencer for October 6, says: " Juries and Judges are still fallible."

Maud Ballington Booth, writing under date of September, 1908, gives details of two interesting cases:

A man was sentenced to life imprisonment and served sixteen and a half years. Most of the evidence had -been purely circumstantial and he was convicted mainly on the testimony of one witness. He was saved from the gallows only by the earnest efforts of those who had known of his previous good character.

Hast winter the woman who had been the main witness against him came to what she believed was her death-bed, and, sending for a priest, confessed that she had committed perjury. The matter was brought to the attention of the Governor, and the man at once liberated. He still lives. The State took sixteen years of his liberty, hut did not sh-d his innocent blood. At present I know a man-

-continues Mrs. Booth,

-who has served nine years and is still in prison, where he has been visited by the boy whom he was supposed to have murdered.

The fact that, in our day, justice may thus miscarry, must give men constant pause before they seek remedial vengeance in the death penalty.

Mr. Buttrom, present Attorney General for the Second Judicial District of Tennessee, in talking to me recently, said:

I am against capital punishment -because men are too liable to err. Before I was elected Attorney General, a white man was convicted in my county of murder in the first degree. He pleaded accidental killing. He was a poor fellow, an! the court had appointed a lawyer to defend him. I thought at the time the verdict was rendered that the jury had erred. The people were bitter against him and had threatened to lynch -him. -Some of the jury wanted to hang him outright, hut they finally reported mitigating circumstances as a part of their verdict and the judge sentenced the piisoner to life imprisonment. From later developments it became evident that the man was innocent, and for that reason Governor Hooper pardoned him recently.

-Capital punishment is a relic of the days when -men were forced to tread red-hot ploughshares to prove their innocence. I do not believe in taking a man's life far having committed a crime. That is a barbarous custom, a relic of ancient days-. We must toe progressive, and more humane toward our fellow-mortals. It seems -to me (that in a Christian land, with all our boasted Christamity, we should practice such, and abolish this terrible method o-f punishment. Capital -punishment does not prevent crime. We make us-e of it, yet murders are continually committed. Why not try the other method? When a man s life is taken at the end of a roipe, -his usefulness is*done for. He is of no v-alue to the State, o-r to- society. Why not try my plan? For a good many years we have been trying the plan of the Minister of Justice; that is hang them up. Why not try the other plan for a little while? Why not try it for a year as an experiment? Would Canada -suffer if you tried it for a year? Stop -hanging for one year and if you stop hanging you will stop most of the murders. I do not know whether the present Parliament will -abolish capital punishment; I

am afraid not. I hope that if this one fails same future Parliament will do it and it will do it for two very good reasons; first, that it is not necessary as a preventive of murder and, second:, because it is an unholy and barbarous crime in itself. Man has no right to take what he has not given -man has no right to say to this man, " Thou shalt die," when God himself has ordained, "Thou shalt not kill." When the Christ of Galilee came to earth it was to preach the kingdom of God upon earth-and it was his wish that man should not slay his fellow-man.

The most powerful case cited by Mr. McConnico was the Durand case, in California. I am not sure whether I have mentioned this Durand case on previous occasions to the Minister of Justice. It was a case in which a young man was hanged for the murder of a young woman. They were both members of a Methodist church, both teachers in the same Sunday school, both singers in the same choir. One day the young lady disappeared. Suspicion immediately fell on the young man. He was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. He delivered a little, short speech-I remember the case well-just before he was sent into eternity. He said to the people there: I am not guilty of this crime; I am going to be hanged for a crime that I did not commit; and I say it before God and man. He lifted his eyes to heaven, and asked the Lord to forgive those who had sworn him to death. Sir, less than twelve months after that young man was sentenced to eternity, the minister of that congregation took sick and confessed that he was the man who had killed that girl. Well, the young man had gone into eternity. Now, I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, I appeal to the Minister of Justice, if life imprisonment will serve society just as well, if life imprisonment will protect society as well as the death penalty, then why not let us make the experiment?

I must say a few words in reply to my good friend the member for Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury). I accused him this afternoon of being one who out-Heroded Herod. But I take that back; I should not have said that. I want to say to him, however, that the state does not kill people merely because they are worthless, and to be rid of them. Insane asylums are built at great expense for the incurable, upon whom relatives cannot bear to look, who personally might be better off dead. The state tenderly cares

for all such cases. This is done because the example of kindness and humanity to the unfortunate is of an inestimable benefit to society. It is not possible to imagine the effect society would feel if we were to destroy 'all imbeciles and the incurably insane. What a horrible example would be set for the people of the state to follow. No calculation could be made of the injury to the morals of the state by countenancing such conduct. One of the greatest advantages to the state from the preservation and tender care and treatment of the hopeless insane is this example of humane treatment and of tender consideration of a human life, however useless and pitiable it may seem. Our citizens are taught to be kind and gentle to the unfortunate by this example of the state. May I ask the people of Canada if they believe any boy-any mother's son, black or white, however depraved-should be hanged, killed just to get rid of him? Can we afford to do it?

Chief Baron Kelly says that from 1802 to 1840 he traced twenty-two men who were wrongly convicted of murder in England, seven of whom were hanged. Mackintosh says that in the same country, taking a long period of time, one innocent man is hanged in every three years.

It may be safely asserted that the thousands who were put to death, at the stake and otherwise, for witchcraft, were not guilty of the crime with which they were charged. Again, there is no way of ascertaining to a certainty the guilt of any one charged with murder. Felonious intent is the essence of crime. The jury must determine, then, in each instance the state of mind of the accused. In many cases this is a difficult task, and in not a few the verdict is a mere guess. A confession of guilt, if voluntary, would seem to be a strong evidence, but by way of illustrating a general rule, it will be remembered that a number of men confessed to the murder of Nathan in New York city, all of whom were innocent. In some cases of acknowledged murder the supposed victim has turned out to be still alive, and in at least one instance interrupted the trial.

Whatever may be the testimony of a witness, it cannot be certain to a demonstration, in most cases, that he is not committing perjury, or is not mistaken.

Of course I am aware that many will disagree with me, for I have never been' able to get everybody to see my way and be right in their view, but I am sure that, as men grow more civilized, capital punish-

ment grows less popular, and wholesale murder, in the shape of war, is regarded as the last resort by the civilized nations of the earth, and the time will come when human life will be rightly valued and war shall be no more. If this is not to be the case, Christianity will have proved a failure, to become an effete religion, cast by intelligent humanity upon the religious scrap pile of the ages.

Is it not time to put aside the unwarranted penalty of capital punishment and adopt the more humane and effective punishment by life imprisonment, put beyond the reach of one-man pardon? The capital punishment experiment has proved a failure, so far as its being a remedy for crime is concerned.

No matter how great any man's respect for the Old Testament may be, the most that he can say for the ceremonial and criminal law of the Hebrews is that it was adapted to men in a very crude condition, who were making their first advances in the rudiments of moral and religious truths; that it taught them only as much as they were prepared to receive, with a promise of something better to come after. The clergy admit that the ceremonial law of the Jews is no longer binding. They insist that God's covenant with Noah, in which occurs the verse, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed," is binding for all time and upon all nations. They do not understand that it is repealed, both in the language and the spirit of the New Testament. If they believe as firmly as they pretend that killing the murderer is-pleasing to God and a duty sacredly enjoined upon man, they should act as executioners: they certainly should not hesitate to pull the string or cut the rope that sends the soul of a murderer to the answering bar of God.

One word in conclusion, in reply to my good friend, our warrior bold from Peterborough. He does not attempt to out-Nero Nero himself, but he comes a very fair second. Nero killed both his wife and his mother, while our friend would be quite satisfied with hanging his wife-if he had one. It might be well for the marriageable ladies of Peterborough to sit up and take notice. He says positively that if he had a wife he would have no objection whatever to hanging her.

Society has erected the gallows at the end of the lane, instead of the cross, the guide post and direction board at the beginning.

There is a wonderful growth of interest in the question of capital punishment. Students of criminology everywhere are discussing this theme. There are four hundred reform societies in the world pleading, as I do now, to spare human life whenever it is possible. A rising tide of humanitarianism is sweeping all the barbarities of the past before it, and as this matter is to be put before the voters of Canada, it is vitally important that we consider it at this time. In the hope that further study of the matter will be stimulated, I am presenting what is merely an outline of this great problem, and giving a few of the reasons why capital punishment should be abolished in Canada.

The abolition of capital punishment is the inevitable trend of history. While capital punishment may have been necessary in early history, there being no adequate prisons to hold extreme offenders of the common law, states and commonwealths are now rapidly abolishing it. During the last one hundred years there has been a wonderful decrease in the number of crimes punishable by death, because the death penalty was found to be ineffectual in preventing crime. A century ago England imposed the death penalty for two hundred and some odd transgressions of the civil law, but these have been reduced to two- murder and treason. Lord Eldon and Lord Ellenborough predicted chaos if men should not be hanged for petty larceny.

Holland abolished capital punishment in 1870. The statistics show nineteen murders from 1861 to 1870, while from 1870 to 1879 there were only seventeen murders, with an increase of population.

Finland has had no executions since 1824. A judge of the Court of Appeals writes: "The security of persons or property has not been in the least diminished by the abolition of capital punishment."

Switzerland abolished capital punishment in 1874. Later three cantons voted to sustain the death penalty in their jurisdiction. The remaining nineteen still thrive without the death penalty, and murder has not increased. .

Other countries and states which have abolished the death penalty are Portugal, Holland, Italy, Norway, Rumania, Tuscany, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala and Venezuela. Denmark has had no hanging since 1890. Belgium none since 1863. Russia has recently abolished it entirely, and in none of these countries has crime increased.

If the Master had not given His thought on this Law of Moses, as found in the ser-

mon on the mount; if he had not set up a standard immeasurably higher, then we might pretend that this Law of Moses for the punishment of murder was a statement for all generations and all forms of civilization. But His teaching is actually as much or more in advance of Moses' Law as that was in advance of the ideas and practices of men when it was given. This Law of Moses is all there is in the Bible which can be pleaded as an exception to the commandment. "Thou shalt not kill." Jesus did enforce this law against killing, but he did not, directly or indirectly, recognize any exception to it. " Thou shalt not kill is more a command than God's covenant with Noah. It is binding on nations as well as on individuals-on the Government and on the Minister of Justice-for there are no exceptions. What right have we to make any? ,

Thirdly, some accept every expression as they do Chicago canned and labelled goods. They swallow, and think no more.

Fourthly, it is argued that the brutality of crime justifies capital punishment. Yes, some crimes are brutal beyond conception, beyond the * reach of the ordinary mind. But to balance brutality against brutality and play the part of the savage is unworthy of a great and humane people.

Cease not from striving, till our law Is clear from bloody stain,

And reformation, not revenge.

In principle sustain.

order to prove my assertion, but it was impossible; the censor would not let them through. I did telegraph to Mr. Thomas Mott Osborne, asking him to give me the names of the states in the Union that had abolished capital punishment, and I received the following reply:-

Capital punishment abolished in following states: Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,

North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, to which Missouri has just been added. Maine forty years ago restored death penalty for six years hut convictions for murder diminished so seriously it was again abolished. No other state has returned.

I mention that because the Solicitor General was very courteous in the matter. Neither of us knew whether he was right or wrong-and I am not any surer now, because I was not able to get the cables to the other side.

The House divided on the motion of Mr. Bickerdike.

YEAS. Messrs:








Lemieux, Loggie, McKenzie, Nicholson, Pacaud, Proulx, Tobin,

(Montreal, St. James), Verville.-15.

I plead once more with the Government to give me a committee. You give a committee on horse racing; you give a committee on gambling; I ask for a committee to look into a question of life and death. What harm would result from our getting all the information available on this question?

I wish to say a word in deference to the Solicitor General, who treated this matter in a very gentlemanly way. I claimed that he had said that capital punishment had been abolished in some countries and subsequently reinstated. I took exception with the Solicitor General on that point, and it was largely on that ground that the debate was adjourned. I understood him to say that Germany and Austria-Hungary had abolished capital punishment and reinstated it. I have no knowledge of that, but T think that was an error. One thing is certain: Austria-Hungary and Germany are to-day practising it very freely, and I should be sorry if this country were asked to follow the example set (by them. I endeavoured to get cables through to those countries in

[Mr. Bickerdike.)






Clark (Bruce), Clarke (Wellington), Davidson,







Motion negatived.








Stewart (Lunenburg), Thompson (Yukon), Wallace,


White (Sir Thomas), Wright.-26.

On the motion of Sir Thomas White, the House adjourned at 11 p.m.

Thursday, May 3, 1917.

Subtopic:   Mv4 Y 2, 1917

May 2, 1917