A Canadian senator has said imprisoned murderers should have the “right to a rope in their cell”.
Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a Conservative senator, later backtracked from the statement, which came a month after two Canadians charged but not convicted of murder were found dead in jail.
Canada abolished the use of capital punishment in 1976…
Mr Boisvenu made his comments to reporters ahead of a meeting of the Conservative caucus. “Each assassin should have the right to a rope in his cell to make a decision about his or her life,” he said. He serves on the committee currently reviewing Canada’s omnibus crime bill.
Mr Boisvenu said he does not expect Canada to reopen the debate on the death penalty, but said “in horrible cases such as [serial killer Clifford] Olson, can we have a reflection on that issue..?”
Mr Harper’s office confirmed that it will not reopen the death penalty debate, but made no other comment…
Mr Boisvenu’s statements were roundly criticised by fellow Canadian politicians.
Bob Rae, an MP for Toronto and interim Liberal Party leader, told CBC the comments “were obviously completely unacceptable”. “He’s also suggesting that the prison system break the Criminal Code, which is equally ludicrous,” Mr Rae said.
Frankly, I think the idea has merit. Understand, I oppose the death penalty  our criminal justice and prosecutorial system teeters perpetually on the edge of corruption and  life without parole is cheaper than the time and money consumed in endless appeals against execution.
But, just as I feel the individual has the right to order the end of their own lives – whether because of terminal illness or ennui – I see nothing wrong with someone sentenced to life without parole being able to choose a simple means of doing the state a favor and ending his imprisonment with suicide.