William Earl ROWE

ROWE, The Hon. William Earl, P.C.

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
CON
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
CON
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
  • Minister Without Portfolio (August 30, 1935 - October 22, 1935)
November 8, 1937 - January 25, 1940
CON
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
NAT
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
PC
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (November 1, 1954 - February 1, 1955)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (August 1, 1956 - December 13, 1956)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
PC
  Dufferin--Simcoe (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 860)


May 23, 1961

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
Full View Permalink

May 23, 1961

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
Full View Permalink

May 23, 1961

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
Full View Permalink

January 20, 1961

Mr. Rowe:

That is definitely not a fact.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

January 20, 1961

Mr. Rowe:

Will the Leader of the Opposition permit a question?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink