Capital punishment is as old as mankind. It was practically the only form of punishment for most of the worlds history. Except
back then it was quick, fast and efficient. Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." Leviticus 24:17 "And
he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death."
In Canada, murder is a federal offense. In 1962 Ottawa
abolished executions, temporarily. In 10 years the number of homicides in Canada rose from 150 per year to 650 per year.
In 1975 there were 701 homicides in Canada. But that did not deter the politicians in Ottawa. They abolished the death penalty
completely in 1976 (Bill C-84) and the homicides have remained at an average of 650 per year.
Ottawa came up with
an alternative to capital punishment life imprisonment without parole for 25 years. Thats what was published at the time.
But years later, surprise, surprise, after the murders had served about ten years in jail, it became known that the Act had
a little known faint hope clause that allowed parole to murderers after 15 years (Liknaitzky, 1985, p. 72). The majority
of murderers in Canada now only serve 15 years. The special-interest anti-capital punishment groups not only got capital
punishment banned in Canada but got a loophole in the law that allowed murderers out in 15 years while the ordinary Canadians
isolated with no input as usual -- wondered what was going on up in Ottawa.
It is high time that Canadians thought
about reopening this issue. If left wing soft-on-crime politicians in Ottawa could ban capital punishment by a disciplined
party vote then maybe it is time the subject was reopened in a free vote. Or better still, a binding referendum. Canadians
themselves not their political elites in Ottawa could decide this issue forever.
Capital punishment in the U.S.
is different in each state because of the political division of powers within their constitution. Each state has relatively
much more power than a Canadian province in this regard. The states decide not Washington or Ottawa if they are going to
have the death penalty.
From 1930 to 1967 3,859 US executions were carried out -- an annual average of more than
100. At the present time 38 states have the death penalty on the books and 17 states imposed the ultimate punishment recently.
The U.S. has 3,200 death-row inmates. Texas leads the way this year with 37 executions, followed by Virginia 9; Montana 6;
Arkansas 4; Alabama 3; Arizona 2; Illinois 2; South Carolina 2; Colorado 1 Florida 1; Indiana 1; Kentucky 1; Louisiana 1;
Maryland 1; Nebraska1; Oklahoma 1; Oregon 1. This is more executions than in the past 42 years, and the pace of executions
is expected to rise. Executions were virtually halted in Texas in 1996 by a court challenge over a new state law aimed at
speeding up appeals. The law for speedy executions was eventually upheld and Texas continued with executions. Livingston
Prison, Texas, has 443 on death row.
California judges have the option of sentencing convicted capital murderers
to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are currently over 1,700 people in California who have received
this alternative sentence, which includes no appeals process. The opponents of capital punishment claim that it costs more
to execute a person than to keep him or her in prison for life. Any normal person would realize that this is a lie. It costs
little to execute a killer. It costs to have year after year of remands, retrials, and endless judicial maneuvers.