May 23, 1961

PC

Rémi Paul

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul:

But I wonder if it is with deep conviction that the hon. member made that suggestion to the house.

Unfortunately, we still remember the case of that famous murder which was premeditated, planned and carried out a few years ago by a certain woman, when a plane crashed at Sault-au-Cochon, not far from Baie St. Paul in Quebec.

I think the woman who had planned such a crime deserved the punishment she received.

I therefore think we should not make any exception for women if they are coward enough to plan the suppression of one of their fellow human beings.

Those are the few remarks I wanted to make in this house.

90205-0-333i

Criminal Code

I am sure that at the conclusion of this debate, we shall have taken a great step to meet the requirements of the two schools of thought. On the other hand, while society must be protected, it must also protect. So it continues to lend a compassionate hand to those who, through weakness, passion or distraction, have committed a crime.

I feel that in maintaining capital punishment for capital murder, we are giving a further proof to the Canadian people that Canada has had this legislation in its statutes for many years and that the members of this house intend to keep it, in order to ensure continued protection to society, the family and the individual.

(Text):

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

Henry Frank Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. F. Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs):

At the close of this great debate which has excited the interest and the emotions of Canadians, as have similar debates in other countries on this subject, I think it is fitting to pay tribute to all those inside and outside of this house who have played a part in reaching the position that we are in today in relation to a possible solution of this problem through the medium of this bill. I think that the abolitionists, and those who have favoured keeping the Criminal Code as it is, will greet this bill with considerable relief.

The bill represents, in my view, a great step forward. It removes the death penalty for those murders where premeditation is not a factor. This is a great advance. It retains the death penalty for those persons who have decided themselves that someone else's life shall be forfeited. I feel this has been one of the factors in the arguments both inside and outside of the house for retaining the provisions of the code as they are at the moment. There has been a fear that those who commit planned murders, those who engage in crimes which could well result in murder, might not receive full justice if abolition were brought about.

The hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Maloney) mentioned with favour the provision to leave clemency with the jury. In his remarks, he suggested that perhaps this verdict should not be arrived at unanimously. I have great respect for the opinions of the hon. member for Parkdale, particularly in this field. I do believe, however, although his suggestion is one that should interest the members of the house and should receive their serious and deep consideration, that the retention of the unanimity rule in so far as clemency is concerned would result in a much

Criminal Code

more thorough examination by a jury of the question of whether or not clemency should indeed be recommended.

The jurors when they get together by themselves to decide these matters, if they are placed in a position in which the majority could decide whether or not there should be a clemency recommendation, I feel would tend not to give the serious consideration that should be given to a recommendation for clemency. The tendency might be merely to let a majority ride and not to explore all the aspects of the case which should go into such a serious recommendation. I believe there is also a clause in the bill permitting the governor in council in commuting a sentence of death to direct that the prisoner shall not be released from the imprisonment to which the sentence is commuted without the prior approval of the governor in council, and this applies to capital murder. I wonder whether consideration should not be given to including within the bill a similar provision in respect of those murders which are not capital murders. Otherwise we might have people being released from prison after paying a relatively short penalty and without that serious consideration which should be given by the highest authority to the release of a person who has committed a murder.

Those were the two thoughts I wished to place before the house. I wish to close by complimenting the minister on this step forward. I think it will meet with general approval. Indeed, from the reports that I have read and the opinions of lawyers that I have heard on this matter, I believe it is generally regarded as being a great and imaginative solution to this question which has exercised Canadians as a whole over the last four or five years.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. Earl Rowe (Dufferin-Simcoe):

Mr. Speaker, an issue that concerns the sanctity of human life affects the emotions of everyone in the House of Commons. I can quite understand the zeal of the hon. member for York-Scarborough (Mr. McGee) and the support he has had from the hon. member from Parkdale (Mr. Maloney) and others on this rather moral issue. It is an issue that far transcends party lines. I can appreciate the attitude of those who feel keenly about it. I think it is a matter of deduction to arrive at what is actually meant by the sanctity of human life.

I believe I have a very kindly heart. I have terrific sympathy for anyone who even is obliged to go to jail for the commission of a crime, whether it is stealing a loaf of bread for his family, exceeding the speed limit with his car, or something else. However, while I am not a lawyer, I notice that there are degrees of penalties. A man is fined so much for going through a red light. He is fined much

more if he kills a child running out on the road on the way from school. He is fined much more and he loses his licence if he is convicted of manslaughter or if, through impaired driving, he causes an accident in which a whole family is killed. I am wondering whether we are not being carried away with our sentimentality and our heartfelt sympathy for the man who has a background that prompts criminality.

I am more concerned, Mr. Speaker, about the death of one lovely little child and her innocent mother than I am about the death of all the criminals who have been hanged on all the gallows to date. Do not let us get "chicken". Do not let us get soft. It is not a matter of revenge. Good men-and there are many that I know personally-saw good comrades die in battle for the great principles of liberty and freedom. Many thousands of good men have died for fundamental principles. A few criminals have been hanged for dastardly crimes against society. We are not here to protect criminals from the gallows. We are here to protect society in general. In the twilight of my career in politics I would shudder if I thought I had cast a vote for the total abolition of the death penalty if it meant that one of my grandchildren or one of yours, Mr. Speaker, or one of the grandchildren or daughters of my many other friends in the house were killed because some fellow said, "I will only get a light penalty anyway".

One of the hon. members who has spoken said that this legislation is only a beginning and that it will develop to the point of total abolition which is the objective of some sincere hon. members in this house. Surely we should stop, look and listen. If a $1,000 fine is a penalty to a man who cannot find the $1,000, five years in the penitentiary is a greater penalty. But if a judge says, "Because of the crime that you have committed, you will be taken to the place of execution and you will hang by the neck until you are dead", surely that is a deterrent. I once heard that sentence pronounced on a man whom I knew and I felt the cold chills go up and down my back. No man can tell me that sentence is not a greater deterrent than is one pronounced by a judge who says that the man will go to jail for the balance of his life, knowing that the government might be soft enough to let him out in about 20 years.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne (Solicitor General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Or 12 years.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Or 12 years, as the hon. member from Newfoundland says. Do not let us be soft, Mr. Speaker. We are here as trustees for society. We are here to protect these happy little children that are running out of school, these innocent little girls who know nothing

of the dastardly things that have corrupted society and broken hearts down through the years.

Mr. Speaker, I would vote against my party if it was inclined to abolish any provision that I thought would be a deterrent against crime and would protect society in general. I am not unaware of the fact that there may have been doubts. Some of our most eminent lawyers, hard hearted as some of our people think they are but learned in the law, believe that every man is entitled to a fair trial. I know it almost breaks their hearts if they think that some man has gone to the gallows who was a near criminal, or who was near to committing a crime but there was not quite enough evidence to prove that he committed it. We all feel very keenly on that score where an innocent man might have been hanged. But down through the ages, in the old land and in this country, how many of those cases have there been?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
CCF

Harold Edward Winch

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Winch:

Enough.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

My hon. friend says "enough". May I say that from my childhood I can remember scores of little girls who have been raped and murdered, little boys who have been murdered, mothers who have been murdered and clerks who have been shot. I think of the thousands of better men than we are who tonight sleep in Flanders fields as a result of meeting death in the first great war and of the thousands who are buried in the English channel as a result of the second great war. Those men died for fundamental principles. If two or three who were near crime were hanged but probably should not have been hanged, if they were a deterrent in order to save society in general, I think they died in a good cause.

I am not going to pursue this matter, Mr. Speaker. I was not in the house this morning, but I heard that the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) gave a brilliant explanation, as usual, of this bill. The Minister of Justice is most capable of doing this.

Perhaps I am not as familiar with this matter, being a layman, as I might have been had I been a lawyer, but it would not have changed my sentiment at heart: we are here to protect society; we are not here to protect the criminal.

(Translation):

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

Louis Fortin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Louis Fortin (Montmagny-L'Islet):

Mr. Speaker, in my preliminary remarks, I intended to show to what extent the two theories confronting each other are defenda-ble. And I think we had this evening a perfect illustration of what I was going to say as felt by all hon. members who

Criminal Code

listened to the hon. member for Park-dale (Mr. Maloney), speaking with all the conviction he has acquired in his brief but fruitful career at the bar. Indeed the death penalty in its present form is practically a crime.

He expounded his philosophy in a composed and passionless way, and we agreed with him.

On the other hand, the case for maintaining capital punishment is also defendable. In fact, I think that what the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe), just told us, is as good an illustration of the reasons for maintaining capital punishment. Both theories were well defended, first by the hon. member for Parkdale, that brilliant young criminal lawyer who, during his career, has frequently been in touch with people who were under indictment for murder, and then by the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe who had the advantage of a long experience of men and things and who was basing his judgment on that very experience, which is so valuable.

All that, Mr. Speaker, goes to show that when it is a question of forming an opinion for or against the abolition of capital punishment, the responsibility resting on members' shoulders is extremely heavy. And that is precisely why, last year, I refrained from taking part in the debate, when the bill of the hon. member for York-Scarborough (Mr. McGee) was introduced.

At that time, I felt a bit like the man in the street who, one day, believes that maintaining capital punishment is essential for the protection of society and the next, after hearing a lecture or the narration of some moving occurrence, prefers complete abolition. As I said, I did not take part in this debate because I wanted to study the question thoroughly, with an open mind, without passion, as one should when considering such a complex matter which may entail so very serious consequences. 1 wanted to take some advice and consult even the man in the street on the way he felt with regard to this matter.

Today, I would still not be able to determine which is my honest opinion if I were asked to decide for or against the abolition of capital punishment.

I believe that the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) also thought that public opinion was not sufficiently enlightened, nor clear enough to be faced with legislation tending completely to abolish the death penalty. Now a middle way has been found thanks to which nobody, I think, may be unfairly convicted of capital murder entailing capital

Criminal Code

punishment, whereas to this day anyone who had killed has been a murderer, there being no alternative even if, deep down in his conscience, the individual having committed- and I even hesitate to say the word-a murder for some motive which submitted to a jury, would have been valueless, was doomed to hang.

In other words, if you had killed, if you had committed a murder and were unable through reliable witnesses or by your own means to justify such action on some ground or other, you were heading for the gallows. And that is precisely where the injustice was. Today, a distinction has been made between capital murder and non-capital murder.

I might perhaps immediately deal with the suggestion made a few moments ago by the hon. member for Berthier-Maskinonge-Dela-naudiere (Mr. Paul), who proposed that anybody who killed be accused of qualified murder. I rather believe that we should do the opposite. In the vast majority of cases, the indicted should be accused of non-capital murder, because it is extremely painful to bring an individual before the courts and prove his intention, or prove that his crime was premeditated.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
PC

Louis Fortin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fortin:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask you to call it ten thirty?

(Text):

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink
CCF

Harold Edward Winch

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Winch:

Will the hon. member call it

ten thirty?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REVISION OF PROVISIONS RESPECTING DEATH PENALTY
Permalink

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

L L

William Moore Benidickson

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

Mr. Speaker, would the leader of the house indicate whether it is the intention of the government to continue this debate tomorrow, and if so and it is concluded, does he adhere to what he said last evening, that we would take up the estimates of the Department of Justice after the conclusion of this debate?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Mr. Speaker, I indicated last evening that if the debate on this bill were not concluded today we would consider continuing it tomorrow. That is the case; we will continue tomorrow with the debate on this bill.

If it is finished in time tomorrow, we will proceed with the estimates of the Department of Justice.

At 10.30 p.m. the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to special order.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink

ANSWER TO QUESTION


The following answer, deposited with the Clerk of the house, is printed in the official report of debates pursuant to standing order 39:


C.M.H.C.-PROCEEDS FROM SALE OF MORTGAGES

CCF

Mr. Regier

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

1. What are the arrangements that have been arrived at between the Department of Finance and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation as to the disposal of the potential proceeds of the proposed sale of mortgages now held by the C.M.H.C.?

2. What have been the total amounts of repayment on principal collected by C.M.H.C. for each of the past five years on moneys that it has advanced for home construction?

Answer by: Hon. D. J. Walker (Minister of Public Works):

Question

1. When the corporation has effected the sale of a group of mortgages it will determine with the Department of Finance whether to use the proceeds of sale for the making of new direct loans or whether to make prepayments upon its debenture indebtedness to the treasury. The decision will depend largely upon the then current money market and the demands upon the corporation for direct loans at that time.

2. Principal Collections on N.H.A. Loans

1956 $ 24,786,802

1957 22,642,635

1958 28,526,518

1959 30,592,793

1960 36,487,987

Topic:   C.M.H.C.-PROCEEDS FROM SALE OF MORTGAGES
Permalink

$143,036,735 HOUSE OF COMMONS


Wednesday, May 24, 1961


STANDING ORDERS

May 23, 1961