Mr. Speaker, I cannot accept them as such in view of the fact that I have not studied them with the dedication the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch) has. I present these figures in an effort to establish that one can either make a case for or against capital punishment by the use of statistics. Certain learned individuals have made such cases, by figures, showing that capital punishment does act as a deterrent under certain circumstances.
We have the opinions of professional individuals who are dedicated to the hunting down of criminals. I refer to the commissioner of police for London, who testified before the royal commission, to which I have referred, giving examples establishing the deterring effect of capital punishment. That individual referred to a certain group of hoodlums. One of the members of that group was apprehended, convicted of murder, and sentenced to hang, but that sentence was commuted. That group continued its operations in the same way, perpetrating crimes of violence, including murder. Subsequently two members of that band were arrested, convicted of murder, sentenced to hang, and the sentences were carried out. Following their execution that band of hardened criminals discontinued its operations. It is the considered opinion of that man, whose life work has been devoted to dealing with crime in the largest city in the world, that capital punishment is a deterrent to murder, and I suggest his opinion should carry some weight.
In the debate on capital punishment in the United Kingdom House of Commons of February, 1955 the home secretary gave various reasons why that government was opposed to the outright abolition of capital punishment. One reason he gave in support of the government's rejection of abolition of capital punishment was the evidence of many experienced persons that the death penalty was
a unique deterrent to the professional criminal. I think that is a very forthright indication of the nature of the evidence placed before the commission, which spent years investigating the matter.
In Canada we have officers of the law charged with the enforcement of law and order, who have come to this same conclusion. I refer, as an example, to the opinion of the former commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mr. Nicholson, who during an interview conducted by a reporter of the Ottawa Citizen, and reported in that paper in February 25, 1960, is reported as having said:
It would not be an exaggeration to say the criminal fraternity generally would welcome abolition of capital punishment.
Therefore a strong case has certainly been established for the value of capital punishment as a deterrent. There is another thing to remember in discussing deterrents. One must keep in mind the kind of offence which now will be punishable by death. It is the deliberate type of murder; it is murder planned by stealth, cunningness, and all the sordid details that go with the commission of crime. It is precisely these people, Mr. Speaker, to whom the fear of capital punishment, the spectre of capital punishment, will be the most frightening. When they put into the balance or on the scales the pros and cons which would move them to commit their crime there is, I submit, a heavy weight against the commission of the crime when they know that swift and certain justice will follow in the form of execution by hanging. I think this cannot be denied. Even if after coming to the deliberate decision to commit crime and setting out on that sordid mission of murder, when everything else, every other feeling of human decency has failed, I still think that on the road to committing that crime prospective murderers will see the road sign which reads "To the gallows", and many may, even at that late hour, be deterred and not commit the crime of murder which they propose. That is why we cannot treat the commission of murder as a statistic because statistics are silent on the hidden motive that determines criminal offences.
With all the respect that is due to the hon. member for Vancouver East, who certainly was most sincere in his expose of his thesis, I still heartily and fully agree with the Minister of Justice who states that statistics are not reliable because there are no statistics on crimes which are not committed.
Subtopic: REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY