June 18, 1987

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION ACT, 1986 MESURE TO ENACT


The House resumed from Wednesday, June 17, consideration of the motion of Mr. Crosbie that Bill C-18, An Act respecting national transportation, be read the third time and passed.


PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Pursuant to order made Tuesday, June 16, 1987, the House will now proceed with the deferred recorded division on third reading of Bill C-18, and Act respecting national transportation.

Call in the Members.

The House divided on the motion (Mr. Crosbie), which was agreed to on the following division:

(Division No. 217)

++YEAS

Members

Tardif

(Charlesbourg) Taylor Thacker Towers Tremblay (Quebec- Est) Tremblay (Lotbiniere)

Allmand

Althouse

Angus

Axworthy

Baker

Benjamin

Berger

Blackburn

(Brant) Broadbent Copps dc Corneille Epp

(Thunder Bay-

Nipigon)

Foster

Frith

Fulton

[DOT] (N40)

Valcourt

Van De Walle

Vankoughnet

Vezina

Vincent

Warner

Weiner

White

++NAYS

Members

Garneau Gauthier Guilbault (Saint-Jacques) Heap Hopkins Hovdebo Johnston (Saint-Henri- Westmount) Kaplan Keeper Killens MacLellan Manly Marchi McCurdy Murphy

Wilson

(Swift Current -Maple Creek) Wilson

(Etobicoke Centre) Winegard Wise-137

Nicholson

(Trinity)

Nunziata

Nystrom

Orlikow

Ouellet

Penner

Prud'homme

Riis

Robichaud Robinson Tobin Young-42

Andre Ferland ManthaAttewell Fontaine MasseBeatty Forrestall MayerBelsher Fraleigh MazankowskiBernier Fretz McCainBlais Friesen McCrossanBlenkarn Gagnon McCuishBouchard Gass McDougallBourgault Gottselig (St. Paul's)Boyer Gray MclnnesBradley (Bonaventure-lles-de- McKenzieBrightwell la-Madeleine) McKinnonBrowes Greenaway McKnightCadieux Grise McMillanCardiff Guilbault MerrithewChampagne (Drummond) Minaker(Champlain) Gustafson MitgesCharest Hamilton NickersonClark Harvey Nowlan(Brandon-Souris) Hawkes OberleClifford Hees OostromClinch Hnatyshyn PaproskiCollins Holtmann PennockComeau Horner PetersonCorbett Howie PietzCossitt James PlourdeCote Jelinek Porter(Lac-Saint-Jean) Jepson RavisCote Joncas Redway(Langelier) Jourdenais ReidCrofton Kempling ReimerCrombie Kindy St-JulienCrosbie King Schellenberger(St. John's West) Lanthier (Wetaskiwin)Crosby Lawrence Scott(Halifax West) Layton (Victoria-Haliburton)Dantzer Lesick ScowenDarling Lewis Shieldsde Cotret MacDonald SiddonDella Noce (Kingston and SparrowDick the Islands) SpeyerDomm MacDougall StackhouseDorin (Timiskaming) StewartEllis MacKay SulukFennell Mailly

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION ACT, 1986 MESURE TO ENACT
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I declare the motion carried. Bill read the third time and passed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION ACT, 1986 MESURE TO ENACT
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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT


ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON REINSTATEMENT The House resumed from Friday, June 5, consideration of the motion of Mr. Mazankowski: That this House supports, in principle, the reinstatement of capital punishment and directs that a special committee on reinstatement, composed of 15 members, be established, hold hearings and make its final report to the House no later than three (3) months following the adoption of this motion, such report to provide recommendations on: (a) which offence or offences should carry the death penalty, and in what circumstances; (b) which method or methods should be used to carry out the penalty of death, and in what circumstances; That, pursuant to Standing Order 107(1), this special committee be hereby appointed as a committee to prepare and bring in a bill no later than three months following the adoption of this motion, founded on the committee's recommendations on (a) and (b) above; such a bill shall be the object of a separate and distinct report of the special committee, and such a report shall be its final report; That such bill, when reported from such special committee to the House, be deemed pursuant to Standing Order 107(1) to have been introduced and stand on the Order Paper, in the name of the special committee chairman, for first reading at the next sitting of the House; and that subsequent House stages of the bill be considered under "Government Orders", with the bill standing under the heading "Government Business"; and that, when the said bill has been read a second time, it shall stand referred to a Legislative Committee;



That the Striking Committee be empowered to name the Members of the special committee, provided that once the Striking Committee report is laid upon the Table, it shall be deemed concurred in; That the special committee have the power to sit while the House is sitting and during periods when the House stands adjourned; That the special committee be empowered to report from time to time and send for persons and papers, and to print such papers and evidence from time to time as may be ordered by the committee and to retain the services of expert, technical, professional and clerical staff; That the special committee be empowered to adjourn from place to place inside Canada and that, when deemed necessary, the appropriate staff accompany the committee; That a quorum of the special committee be eight (8) members for any vote, resolution or other decision; and that the chairman be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and authorize the printing thereof whenever six (6) members are present; That any substitution of membership on the special committee be made pursuant to Standing Order 94(4); and That, notwithstanding the usual practices of this House, if the House is not sitting when the special committee is ready to issue its final report and the said bill, the special committee shall present its report and the bill to the House by filing them with the Clerk of the House provided that the report shall then be deemed to have been laid upon the Table, and the bill shall then be deemed, pursuant to Standing Order 107(1), to have been introduced at the first sitting of the House thereafter and to stand on the Order Paper in the name of the special committee chairman, for first reading at the next sitting of the House; and that subsequent House stages of the bill be considered under "Government Orders", with the bill standing under the heading "Government Business".


PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Resuming debate. The Hon. Member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lome Nystrom (Yorkton-Melville):

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate today-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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PC

Allan Frederick Lawrence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lawrence:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. 1 move:

That the Member for Ontario (Mr. Fennell) be now heard.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

I was speaking.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

On Orders of the Day, resuming debate was called and the Chair recognized the Hon. Member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) who, in the opinion of the Chair, was clearly speaking.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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?

Some Hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The Hon. Member has risen and moved a traditional motion that another Member be now heard.

It is important that all Hon. Members and the public that is watching understand exactly what this procedure is, because it is a very difficult one for the Chair.

I am going to refer to what the procedural law is in this matter so that there is no misunderstanding. I am referring to a ruling of Speaker Sauve on October 27, 1983. It is as follows:

-Members may on a point of order ask that an Hon. Member be now heard as long as no other Member has the floor legitimately. Beauchesne states that a motion that a Member be now heard must be moved before the Member recognized has begun speaking. If the Member recognized has simply said "Madam Speaker," that is enough to be in possession of the House and, therefore, under those circumstances a motion that another Member be now heard is not in order.

Capital Punishment

There is always a difficulty for the Chair in these cases, because there is what amounts to a physical contest for the floor. However, in this case, clearly the Hon. Member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) had begun to speak, and 1 must advise the Hon. Member that he is out of order. The Hon. Member for Yorkton-Melville has the floor.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Mr. Speaker, what we are dealing with today is a very important decision about the future of our country. Our decision will tell us how civilized our country is and what kind of country it will be for our kids.

Many Canadians have said there should be capital punishment. They say that because there is a lot of crime. They see violence on television and hear about it all the time. For these reasons I want to ask the Canadian people and my fellow Members of Parliament about 12 questions today with respect to whether or not we should reinstate capital punishment.

The most important question, of course, is if capital punishment is a deterrent, is it going to protect our society? Even those who believe in capital punishment have never been able to prove that it is a deterrent. They have not been able to prove it is a deterrent in this country, or in any other country. Therefore, if it is not a deterrent, why do people want to bring back capital punishment? If capital punishment is not a deterrent, then why bring it back?

I suggest the only reason for bringing back capital punishment is pure and simple revenge. It is vengeance. It is a belief that we must have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It is a belief that if someone robs you, you have the right to rob them. It is a belief that if someone were to punch you in the eye, you have the right to punch them in the eye. It is pure revenge. It is a vengeful vendetta. I suggest that basing the argument for capital punishment on revenge and retribution is not right.

My third question asks, if we bring back capital punishment, what kind of society will we have in this great country of ours called Canada? What kind of society will we be if we give the state the legal right to take a life, the right to kill someone? I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that would not be a very nice society.

Bringing back capital punishment may indeed provoke even more murders, even more violence and killing. In his speech the Hon. Member for Ottawa West (Mr. Daubney) outlined in detail some statistics on what we call the brutalization effect, that is, when a state legally kills someone it can provoke someone who is sick and demented to go out and kill someone or commit an act of violence.

The Hon. Member in his speech before the House cited some studies made in New York State and in South Carolina where indeed when the state did murder someone, there was concrete evidence that it provoked more killings and violence in those particular states. That evidence proves that there is a strong chance that if we bring back killing by the state, capital punishment, all we will do is create more violence and murder.

Capital Punishment

We have seen evidence time and time again that violent acts on television may provoke some violence of one kind or another. I remember when I was a young boy that a cousin of mine was always watching westerns on television. He saw how they kept hanging the bad man, and that in the next show the bad man came back. This little cousin of mine, who was about four-years old, went out to the barn, took his favourite cat and he hung the cat. This is the kind of message he was receiving from the television set.

I suggest that Canadians should be influenced by the fact that by executing people, we in turn may be provoking more violence and killings by sick and demented people.

My fourth question asks, are we going to get as many convictions for first-degree murder if we have capital punishment? Are juries going to convict people as readily of first-degree murder if we have capital punishment? I suggest that is highly unlikely. We will have more convictions for second-degree murder and murderers will be running around our streets a lot sooner if we have capital punishment rather than a 25 minimum first-degree sentence.

I refer again to studies which show that out of some 30 juries, at least 29 would have been affected by the fact that capital punishment was the law of this land. There are many Canadians in Canada who would never convict someone of first-degree murder if they knew that the conviction would result in someone being executed. As a result there would be more convictions for second-degree murders and murderers would be out on the street in a position to do more harm and violence to our society. I ask Members of Parliament to think a lot about that.

In my Province of Saskatchewan a couple of years ago JoAnn Wilson was murdered. We had the conviction of Colin Thatcher, a very prominent citizen of Saskatchewan. It was a very difficult case. The jury, if I remember correctly, took some five days to make a decision. I wonder whether Colin Thatcher would have been convicted of first-degree murder, which he was, if capital punishment was in force. I rather doubt it. The decision was difficult enough without the issue of capital punishment. With capital punishment, it would have been made a lot more difficult.

I believe if we had capital punishment, there would be millions of Canadians sitting on juries who would never knowingly send someone to the gallows and have blood on their conscience for the rest of their lives. That is an absolute fact. There are a lot of Canadians who would not convict someone if they knew that person had to face the executioner.

A Conservative friend of mine back here is laughing. 1 suggest it is no laughing matter. We are talking about something very serious.

My fifth question asks, can an innocent person be executed if we had capital punishment? I think the answer is very clearly yes. Again, the Conservative Member of Parliament from Ottawa West put some statistics on the record which proved that where they have capital punishment, over history,

many, many innocent people have been executed. I do not want this to happen in this country. I could not have that on my conscience. So I ask Members of Parliament to think very seriously about the possibility of an innocent person being executed.

Along that line, I would like to refer to a letter in the Prairie Messenger, which is a newspaper of the Roman Catholic Church in the Province of Saskatchewan. It was a letter written recently by Mr. Robert Eisler of Regina. I wish Members of Parliament who are leaning towards capital punishment would listen to Mr. Eisler's arguments. He says in part:

As long as we are human there is always the danger of putting an innocent person to death. So long as that possibility exists it completely destroys all arguments in favor of the death penalty.

How can I in all conscience vote for a return of the noose? In so doing, and should an innocent person be put to death, I would be compelled to spend the rest of my life with blood on my hands.

That is what Mr. Eisler wrote in the Catholic newspaper in Saskatchewan.

With the return of capital punishment, it is only a matter of time before an innocent person is put to death, and once someone is put to death there is no way of making amends or issuing apologies. Once that person is dead, that person is dead, and it is much too late. So I ask Members of Parliament to think very carefully about that issue before they rise in this House and ask that people be put to death in this country.

I refer to the Donald Marshall case recently in Nova Scotia. He was convicted of murder and after a number of years it was proven that Mr. Marshall was innocent. This was second-degree murder, but it is only a matter of time before someone is convicted of first-degree murder and put to death. As the Hon. Member for Ottawa West said, this has happened hundreds of times throughout history in countries and states which have capital punishment. Again I ask Members who want to vote for capital punishment, for hanging, to think twice before they do so.

My sixth question asks, if we bring back capital punishment, who is going to be executed? There was a study done of all the executions in Canada since we became a country back in 1867. It was found in this study that in the main it was the poor people who were executed; it was the disadvantaged who were executed; it was the native Indians who were executed in great numbers; it was the eastern Europeans, people of Ukrainian descent who, historically, were more likely to be executed than Anglo-Saxons. In the United States it is blacks who go to the gallows much more often then white Americans. That is so because they do not have the money to hire the best lawyers. They do not have the privileges that the wealthy have in our society.

Once again I say to Hon. Members, if we bring back capital punishment we will be bringing in a law from which the rich will once again be protected to a greater degree than the poor,

the deprived and the disadvantaged. I ask some of my wealthy friends in the House who are intending to vote for capital punishment to think very carefully about who, in the main, they will be sending to the gallows.

My seventh question is this. Will we save money by bringing back capital punishment? I have heard some people say, "Hang them, execute them, you will save money. Look at how much it costs to keep someone in jail. It costs thousands of dollars to keep someone in jail". Once again I say that that is a wrong argument. It is wrong to even base this type of argument on financial matters.

However, even if it is based on financial matters, I argue that it would cost the state more to bring in capital punishment than it would to keep someone in jail. There would be appeal after appeal, and millions and millions of dollars would be spent in the appeal process which would, once again, cost the Canadian people a great deal of money.

The next question I want to ask my fellow MPs who are thinking seriously about voting in favour of the return of capital punishment is this. Even if we bring back capital punishment, even if we bring back the hangman, will people be executed anyway? My answer to that is probably not. I cannot foresee any Prime Minister of Canada in the next number of years who will want to have on his conscience the fact that he had not commuted the death sentence for some Canadian. When we pass a Bill on capital punishment I assume that the power to commute a death sentence would rest with the Cabinet.

I cannot see the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) ever agreeing because he believes in abolition. He does not believe in vengeance. He does not believe in capital punishment. In my opinion the present Prime Minister would never in effect, sign a death warrant, to have blood on his hands by agreeing to have someone sent to the gallows. That would not happen if the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Turner) were Prime Minister. It would not happen if the Leader of the NDP (Mr. Broadbent) were Prime Minister. It did not happen with the former Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau. It did not happen with the Prime Minister before that, the current Secretary of State for External Affairs, the Hon. Member for Yellowhead (Mr. Clark).

I am also proud to say that the present Minister of Justice (Mr. Hnatyshyn) has strongly hinted to the people of Canada that he would have to reconsider staying in his post as Minister of Justice if capital punishment were brought back and if he was faced with the possibility of having to send someone to the gallows.

Again, if we pass a resolution to establish a Bill to bring back capital punishment we will be setting up a process whereby legally we will have capital punishment but the final result will be that we will not send people to the gallows.

I ask another question of Hon. Members. Supposing someone in the family of an Hon. Member was convicted of murder, what would they do? I suspect there is not a single

Capital Punishment

person in the House who would not fight as hard as possible and use all the money they had to try to free that particular person. I want once again to quote Mr. Eisler's letter as it appeared in the Catholic Church's Prairie Messenger.

I have one question for those favouring a return of the death penalty. God forbid, but if some member of their family were charged with murder, would they still be in favour of capital punishment? Or would they be willing to spend their last dollar to prevent the ultimate? If not, I would hesitate to refer to them as caring and loving parents.

How can 1 promote capital punishment for someone else's son or daughter when I refuse to accept it for one of my own?

I think that is a very strong and compelling argument. There are a great many other arguments. There are a great many churches and a great many people who want to make those arguments. Because of that I want to move an amendment to the motion before the House, an amendment that will give the churches and the people of Canada more time to present their cases. My amendment is seconded by the Hon. Member for Burnaby (Mr. Robinson) and it reads as follows:

That the word "three" in lines 5 and 14 be deleted and that the word "six" be substituted therefor.

This amendment would mean that instead of having three months to study the issue of capital punishment the committee would take six months to study it. The people of Canada, namely, the churches, which have shown tremendous leadership on this issue, would have more time to talk to Canadians about how wrong it is in a decent and civilized society to bring back capital punishment, to provide the same laws in our country as exit in the Soviet Union, China, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Chile, and other countries in South America. Surely to goodness we can strive for higher ideals and higher moral values than there are in some of the countries I have just named. I appeal to my friends in the House not adopt the same mentality as those in the Soviet Union, Chile, South Africa, Iraq or Iran. For God's sake, we are a more decent, democratic and civilized society than some of those countries.

I say that it is not morally right to have capital punishment in Canada. It is not morally right, and the churches have said that to us. The Catholic Church has said time and time again that it is not right, as has the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, the United Church, the Mennonites and other churches. Representing the moral leadership of the country they have said no, no, no to capital punishment on moral terms. This House should be saying no, no, no to capital punishment as well.

I want to conclude by asking a few more questions. Can I ever vote for a Bill on capital punishment? Obviously, my answer is no, for the nine or ten reasons I have already given. If I cannot vote for capital punishment, then how can I pass a law which will state that another Canadian must make the decision to kill? If I cannot kill myself, if I cannot be the hangman myself or the executioner, how can I pass a law that will make it mandatory for another Canadian to do that job? How can I pass a law that states that a jury must make a decision on life or death? I cannot pass such a law.

Capital Punishment

How could I pass a law which would state that a judge must make a decision on life or death? I cannot morally do that. I do not know why I should then pass that decision on to a judge or a jury.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is it fair to expect, if capital punishment is returned, to have a medical doctor stand and verify that somebody has been hung by the neck until dead and then pronounce that person dead? Should we expect a medical doctor to do that whether the method of execution is by hanging, electric chair or lethal injection? Is it fair to force the people in the medical community to go through that type of uncivilized act? It is not fair. I would not do it. How can I pass a law saying that we expect doctors to do it?

Is it fair to expect a minister of the cloth, a reverend or a priest, or what have you, to be there when someone is executed and to give them their last rites, to be with them and try to comfort them? That is not fair.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is it morally right to leave someone who is condemned on death row year after year after year while the appeals go on and on, while the date of execution is pushed back and back? Do Members of the House really believe in that kind of torture? I ask them if they believe in that type of torture for someone who is condemned?

I also ask if Members of the House really believe that it is fair to the family of the condemned woman or man, to see their brother, sister, father, mother, cousin or loved one on death row waiting week after week and month after month and year after year while appeals are being exhausted and retried and exhausted once again?

Finally, I ask whether any Member of this House of Commons would volunteer to be the hangman? Someone has to pull the trigger, someone has to push the button. I suggest that there is no one in the House of Commons who would do that.

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PC
PC
NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

The Hon. Member for Calgary North (Mr. Gagnon) would do it, and so would the Hon. Member for Selkirk-Interlake (Mr. Holtmann). They are exceptions. They would volunteer to be the hangman, to push the button.

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PC

Paul Gagnon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gagnon:

We had a million people go serve in the war who do not want to fight against crime.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
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June 18, 1987