October 18, 1973

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

CRIMINAL CODE


The House resumed, from Tuesday, July 24, consideration of Bill C-2, to amend the Criminal Code, as reported (with amendments) from the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.


PC

Allan Frederick Lawrence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Allan Lawrence (Northumberland-Durham):

Mr. Speaker, this has been a long, drawn-out debate. The issues are well known to the House, to the media and across the country, and I am afraid that as far as members of this parliament are concerned convictions have hardened and people have already made up their minds.

The reason I am boring the House today with a short contribution to this debate is simply that I have not spoken on the matter yet in this chamber. Frankly, I feel somewhat uncomfortable for that reason since, as usual, my own views and experiences do not parallel those of anyone else in the House. I feel I have a duty to indicate those views and experiences in the course of this debate, especially so that my constituents may be able to judge them. As a matter of fact, I think we all have a duty and a responsibility as elected representatives to voice the opinions, desires and needs of our own constituents not only on this issue but on other issues that come before us. I ask you rhetorically, if I may, Mr. Speaker: Why are we all here if it is not to represent the views of our constituents? I ask a further question: Is there anybody here who believes he has been elected to come here because, in the opinion of his constituents, he knows better than they what is good for them?

I think there can be no doubt whatever respecting the feelings and opinions of by far the larger number of people in this country on the general issue of capital punishment. A great number of public opinion polls have been taken on the subject, some of them scientific, others unscientific. I have yet to see one of them which indicated there was a majority of opinion in favour of the abolition of capital punishment in this country. I have seen a great number of these polls and the number of citizens expressing a desire to retain capital punishment for the crime of wanton, premeditated murder ranges from a low of 60 per cent to a high of more than 90 per cent. I believe that especially on an emotional issue such as this the opinions, the sensibilities, the conscience of the average citizen are every bit as reliable as those of any member of parliament, and that we

in this House have a responsibility to conform to the clearly expressed wishes of those who elected us.

Because of the intervention of the recess may I take a moment to remind hon. members of what we are discussing. I point out to hon. members that prior to the Criminal Code 1967 Amendment Act a planned and deliberate capital murder in this country was punishable by death, but since 1967 the killing of police officers and prison authorities acting in the course of their duties have been the only murder offences punishable by death under the law. We have gone through the period of the so-called five-year moratorium.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I hesitate, of course, to interrupt the hon. member. I understand that his comments at this stage are of an introductory nature, but I am wondering whether we may all be labouring under a difficulty now in the sense that what is before the House at the present time is the amendment standing in the name of the hon. member for Louis-Hebert. I assumed when the hon. member took the floor that he wanted to address the House on that amendment rather than on his own amendment which is the next item of business. Perhaps I am mistaken and the hon. member is actually speaking on the hon. lady's amendment. If that is the case I apologize to the hon. member for having interrupted him.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
PC

Allan Frederick Lawrence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lawrence:

Mr. Speaker, I was acting on the assumption that debate on the amendment moved by the hon. member for Louis-Hebert had been completed and that the vote on it was being held over until tonight. Perhaps Your Honour would like to clear up a possible misunderstanding on my part.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

I suspected that this was the misunderstanding and certainly it is not the hon. member's fault. We have had a long adjournment on this item of business. What was called for consideration at this time was the motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Louis-Hebert. When we adjourned that debate the hon. member for Brandon-Souris had the floor and was speaking to that particular motion. Since no member sought the floor except the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham he was recognized, obviously on the mistaken understanding that he would be addressing himself to the motion before the House.

I assume again that there are no further contributors to the debate on the motion before the House and I will therefore put the question on the understanding that the vote will be deferred until eleven o'clock tonight, along with the division on the motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham. The order of the House is clear that these votes will be taken at eleven o'clock this evening.

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October 18, 1973

Criminal Code

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

At 10.45.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

The question is on the motion moved by the hon. member for Louis-Hebert. All those in favour will please say yea?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
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?

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

In my opinion the nays have it. I understand that according to the special order of the House the recorded division will be deferred until ten forty-five o'clock this evening.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
PC

Allan Frederick Lawrence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Allan Lawrence (Northumberland-Durham) moved:

That Bill C-2, an act to amend the Criminal Code, be amended in clause 2 by deleting on page 1 the comma in line 15, by inserting an "(a)" immediately before the word "in" in line 16, by renumbering paragraphs (a) and (b) as (i) and (ii), and by adding immediately after line 5 on page 2, the following new paragraphs:

"(b) in respect of any person, where such person causes the death of a human being while committing or attempting to commit an offence under section 76.1 and

(c) in respect of any person, where such person causes the death of a human being and has been previously convicted of murder, whether or not such murder is punishable by death."

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Northumberland-Durham.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
PC

Allan Frederick Lawrence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lawrence:

What some people will do to get extra applause, Mr. Speaker! In any event, I was indicating that over the last five years the killing of police officers and prison authorities acting within the course of their duties have been the only murder offences punishable by death under our law. This, as I said, was the period of the so-called five-year moratorium. But under the bill we now have before us, the amendment we have just finished discussing as well as the amendment we are discussing now, the issue to be decided by us, all of us, is whether that moratorium should be continued, whether offences calling for capital punishment should be widened, or the further alternative of whether we go back to the pre-1967 state of our law.

Whether we go back to the pre-1967 state of the law or not, for me this debate and the time we have all devoted to it has had a real air of futility and frustration about it. I say that because, even though we know what the law is, since 1967 no police killers and no prison guard killers have been executed in this country despite the fact that in the four years from 1967 through to 1970 16 policemen in this country were murdered in the course of their duties. All of the killers, when convicted of capital murder, had their penalties commuted by the cabinet under the procedure known as the royal prerogative of mercy.

The royal prerogative of mercy is a further appeal that is built into our system under which, after all the trial and appeal procedures in the courts are completed, the cabinet discusses whether or not the penalty should be carried out. I feel that the royal prerogative is a protective, sensible

and needed provision in our legal system in case there is new evidence or other factors that indicate a miscarriage of judgment at the trial and/or the appeal processes of our court system, or some other honest doubt has been created about the guilt of the accused. But I say to you, Sir, that this procedure was never designed to subvert the law. It was never designed to subvert the opinion of parliament and the people. It was never designed to undermine the morale of our law enforcement agencies or the processes of our judicial system. Yet under successive governments, not just this one but successive governments, the law of this country has not been upheld; commutation of these death penalties has been automatic and has been expected.

I suspect that despite this debate today, what has gone on before and what will follow, and no matter what the decision of parliament is, no matter what people's opinions may be and no matter what the laws says, under this government we will continue to have the death penalty commuted. Therefore this debate is frustrating and futile because it will have no realistic effect whatsoever. Nevertheless, there is a bill before us. It was drafted by the government, approved by cabinet and is supported unanimously by the ministry. We are now debating it and will vote on it as if it could change the situation.

The purpose of the amendment we have just finished discussing, introduced by the hon. member for Louis-Hebert (Mrs. Morin), calls for the institution of the death penalty where death results from capital murder committed during the course of a rape. If the hon. lady were in the House I would say to her that I certainly intend to support her amendment. My own amendment deals with two matters. It deals with a murder, a killing, a death as a direct result of an act of air piracy or, as we familiarly call it, hijacking. Second, it provides that the death penalty will be instituted where a second conviction for murder occurs. My intention obviously is to vote for my own amendment as it is to vote for the amendment of the hon. member for Louis-Hebert.

I hope the hon. lady will not mind if I tell her that even if her amendment is carried and even if my own amendment is carried I intend to vote against third reading of the bill. My logic or the lack of it, as some may claim, is simply this. I do not believe that the bill before us is complete. Obviously, this is one of the reasons why I introduced an amendment. I believe we should go back to the pre-1967 law where for all cases of capital murder the death penalty is instituted. In the case of the amendment of the hon. member for Louis-Hebert and my own amendment, if the bill is defeated on third reading, we go back to the pre-1967 law which includes the offences that are before us today and, of course, a great many other offences. It will not include air piracy or hijacking, of course, but I hope that is something the House can clear up in another manner after third reading. However, in respect of the rape provision and the double murder provision, obviously the pre-1967 law will include both of these offences and others.

May I now speak for a moment on the question of air piracy or hijacking. I wish to quote some statistics that have not been quoted in the House before because the matter was not before us. Hon. members may be surprised

to learn that the first recorded attempt, and a successful attempt at that, to hijack took place in 1933. According to the Lloyd's list, between 1933 and 1968 there were in all 100 international attempts to hijack aircraft in the world. All of those attempts were successful.

In 1967 the problem suddenly worsened. It accelerated drastically. All governments, airlines and airports began improving security. In 1969 there were 86 recorded attempts in the world in respect of the hijacking of planes of scheduled airlines. In 1970 there were 80 recorded attempts, 62 in 1971 and 60 in 1972. In actual fact, the number of recorded attempts to hijack in the world has declined very slowly, but I wish to point out to the House that as time went on hijackings became much more dangerous, violent and difficult.

Up to the middle of August there have been this year seven internationally recorded attempts to hijack. These statistics show that while the number of acts or attempts at air piracy is decreasing, the property damage, the number of aircraft destroyed and the number of persons killed or injured are increasing quite rapidly. In the period 1968-71, there were 12 passengers or crew members and 18 hijackers killed. An additional 71 people were injured. In 1972 alone there were 13 passengers or crew members and 22 hijackers killed. The number of fatalities in 1972 was more than the combined total of the previous four years. In 1972, 29 other people were injured as the result of hijacking attempts.

The figures for this year are incomplete and therefore I cannot give them. In May, 1973, a Russian Aeroflot TU-104 was hijacked over southern Siberia. The aircraft crashed, presumably killing all aboard, after a gunfight between the hijacker and an armed guard. The number of casualties has never been announced by the U.S.S.R.

The statistics and the trend of the figures are there. This is a serious problem. It is getting more serious. Strong, deterrent action is needed because with the trend toward larger aeroplanes and more air miles covered each year there is potential danger to a growing number of innocent people who use the airlines of this country and the world.

To date, Canada has been remarkably free from hijackings with only a few attempts, but the situation can change. Hijacking is an international offence or, if not, it should be, and we in this country are in danger of these matters flopping over or slopping over into our jurisdiction. If the House does decide that the death penalty is required, I think that strong deterrent action and statutory law are necessary.

May I now move on to the other thrust of my amendment, namely, that in the case of a second conviction for capital murder, the death penalty should apply. I think this is obvious and I do not intend to speak long on it. Certainly our penal and police records show that some in this country who have committed murder have done so more than once. Many have done it more than twice. For example, we all got rather excited just last May when there was an escape from the Laval Correctional Development Centre. One of the persons who escaped at that time and who had broken out twice from an institution was described by the minister at that time as the meanest and toughest type of inmate. That escapee was a confessed double murderer.

Criminal Code

Surely there can be no doubt about a repeater. If the death penalty is to remain for anyone surely there should be no doubt that on a second conviction the ultimate penalty should be applied. I say that because surely it is a wrong toward our fellow man and society in general to allow a dangerous undesirable criminal to remain in that society with the probability of causing further harm. This is the basis of my thinking in respect of the whole issue of capital punishment. When the Solicitor General, as he so often has in the House during this debate and in committee and through the media and elsewhere, asks how can we possibly help the victim by executing the offender, my answer to him is simply this: Mr. Solicitor General, you are on the wrong tack completely. When a man or woman has been killed no one can possibly help them. What we should be worried about is the protection in the future of other innocents.

Let me give you my own historical background, Mr. Speaker, in respect of this whole question, because at one time I was an abolitionist. I felt and still feel that hanging is a repugnant act. I still feel that the execution of my fellow man is a terrifying admission of our own failure. Nevertheless, at one time I had some responsibility for the safety and public security of our citizens. At that time I must admit to you, Sir, I went through a real evolution in my mental processes and attitude toward the whole question. I am now a retentionist in respect of capital punishment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
PC

Allan Frederick Lawrence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lawrence:

May I take the time of the House merely to say to you, Sir, that the final element in my conversion took place in the spring of 1971 as a result of what we now call the Kingston riot and the subsequent trial of 13 inmates of Kingston, more familiarly known in the legal profession in this province as the infamous Kingston 13. Let me take you back to the evening of Friday, April 18, 1971, at Kingston penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario. At approximately 8.30 p.m. on that evening the ringleaders, a portion of the inmates of that institution, overpowered their guards and took over the institution. For three days within that federal institution there was utter chaos, utter confusion and absolute rampage. During the first two days savage beatings took place and indescribable acts of sadism and bestiality. Some of these matters have never been made public.

On the second night, Saturday night, the segregated prisoners from the first floor of the institution were taken from that floor into the middle of the dome of Kingston penitentiary. Kingston penitentiary, for the information of members, generally speaking is built in the form of a cross with a wing extending out on either side. In the centre of this cross is the area called the dome which extends from the first floor to the ceiling. You can look into the dome area down on to the floor below. The segregated prisoners, what the inmates call the finks, the diddlers and the stoolies, were gathered together by the ringleaders. They were taken to the main floor. The area is about 50 feet across. In the centre of that well is a circular radiator. Fourteen of the inmates were dragged to this radiator ostensibly to be used as a bargaining lever in respect of

26635-11J

October 18, 1973

Criminal Code

the whole riot. They were tied facing inward on steel chairs and then all of the chairs were chained together.

At this time the whole institution was controlled by and in the power of the ringleaders. All of the inmates of the institution were then called by the ringleaders to come out on to the balconies to watch the show that was about to take place. At about 2.00 a.m. on Sunday the show started. I do not intend to indicate to you, Sir, all of the details of what took place. I merely say that it started by the beating of these 14 men with steel locking bars taken from the doors which lock the cells in the penitentiary itself. As the turn of each of these 14 poor individuals came about the ringleaders would call out to the assembled crowd, "Do you like this guy?" Invariably, because of the nature of the offence for which that person was in custody, the answer was a resounding "no".

In almost every case as the ringleaders went about the first thing that happened was that the kneecaps of the individuals were smashed. That was just the beginning. Their noses were then smashed. Later indescribable acts took place with straight razors and instruments such as that. That went on for four hours. It was all over by five o'clock. Most of the 14 inmates were terribly lacerated and horribly mutilated. Some of them will never move again under their own power. It is a miracle that only two died, one almost immediately and the other several days later as a result of his injuries. These two people were Ensor and Robert. They had cranial injuries. Others were maimed. Thirteen inmates were charged, all of whom were between the age of 18 and 39.

In the ensuing investigations that took place at Kingston there were very great difficulties in identification. Some of the people who came forward to identify those who took part in these acts are still in security and solitary confinement today because the Solicitor General and his officials, quite rightly, cannot allow these people to intermix with the rest of the prison population for fear of what would happen to them. The difficulties of identification were immense. All prisoners were interrogated and all the prisoners who were charged, the Kingston 13, were people who were in Kingston as a result of rape charges, robbery with violence charges, gross indecency charges as well as other offences. One of the 13 had previously been convicted of manslaughter. Two of the 13 had previously been convicted of murder but had had their sentences commuted.

The purpose of bringing these matters forward is to indicate the mentality of a small portion, a very infinitesimal minority, of the people of this country. There are people whose mentality is such as I have just described. They are not safe, whether they are in prison or outside of prison. As a matter of fact, one of these people has since escaped from Mi'lhaven. I believe there are some members of the prison population of this country whom it is not possible to rehabilitate. They can be identified by medical tests and they are known to the counselling staff. They have been given every psychiatric and sociological test in our prisons, and our prison authorities know who these people are.

I spoke to one very well known member of the Ontario legal profession after a trial. My job was to supervise legal aid at the time to ensure that prisoners had access to it. I asked him what he thought about his client and he said: "Al, that man was pure brute". Another well known counsel came to me after the trial and indicated that his client was all animal. I simply say that when there is such a prisoner, the other prisoners and even the prison staff live in perpetual fear for their lives and safety. Some of these people are in solitary confinement. They are isolated from the rest of the prison population not for purposes of punishment or for the purpose of rehabilitation, not for revenge or retribution, but solely and simply for the purpose of protecting everyone else in the prison.

There are people in our prisons today, some of whom were involved in the Kingston riot, whose only seeming purpose in life is to kill others. One Kingston guard said to me that one of those individuals who was involved in the Kingston riot would obviously kill anyone who came within three feet of him. If anyone came within striking distance of him, that prisoner would strike. As long as there are such people alive today, whether they are in prison or outside of it, there is a real danger that other persons, in some cases innocent persons, will be in danger because of the mentality of that individual.

I say to you, Sir, forget the philosophical discussions in which we have all been engaged in the House on whether capital punishment is or is not a deterrent. Forget these claims about how hanging brutalizes our society. If you want, even forget the horrifying execution practices that still exist in this country. Forget some of the statistics that have been fed to us ad nauseam about the increase in violence and murder in this country. I ask you, Sir, and hon. members to think for just a moment of the future and of the innocent people who can still be killed, tragically maimed or injured by people who have a mentality such as I have described. There will be people who will be brutally killed in the future if people like this are left alive today. They constitute, obviously, an infinitesimal minority, but if we do not retain the death penalty for these people I think we will be abrogating our responsibility so far as the future is concerned.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink

October 18, 1973