Conservative senator apologizes for saying jailed killers should have suicide option

OTTAWA—A Conservative Senator was forced to apologize for controversial comments suggesting the country’s most heinous killers should commit suicide rather than run up millions of dollars in prison costs.

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu said his comments were made off the cuff and were offensive to those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

“The senator finds his commentary inappropriate. He regrets not having been able to clarify the idea he wanted to express about serial offenders,” his office said in a statement Wednesday.

Boisvenu, a well-known victims’ rights advocate whose daughter was raped and killed by a serial offender in 2002, said that while he is against the death penalty he is troubled by the cases of certain offenders who are unlikely to reform themselves.

“I always say that every killer should have the right to a rope in his cell and be able to decide on his life, but I’m against the death penalty,” he told reporters earlier while discussing the work of a Senate committee that will have the final say on a sweeping government crime bill.

He said he was referring to serial killers like Paul Bernardo, Robert Pickton and Clifford Olson, who died recently.

Boisvenu also raised concerns about the life sentences handed to Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Yahya, and their son Hamed for the first-degree murders of the family’s three daughters and Shafia’s first wife.

“The three of them will be imprisoned at a cost of $10 million to the Canadian government,” he said. “That’s an economic problem because it’s $10 million we can’t put elsewhere. We have to spend it on people with no possibility of rehabilitation.”

Boisvenu’s comments sparked opposition outrage on Parliament Hill and Prime Minister Stephen Harper distanced himself from the remarks, but said he understood Boisvenu’s feelings.

“We all understand that Senator Boisvenu and his family have suffered horribly in the past and, obviously, I think we understand his emotions in that regard,” he said during question period in the Commons.

Liberal interim leader Bob Rae called the senator’s comments “completely unacceptable,” and noted it’s illegal in Canada to counsel an individual to commit suicide.

Excuse me 1 minute, Bob, shut up. He was not counseling an individual, he was making a general statement based in part from his opinions and his life experiences.

“I have worries about these attitudes, because at the end of the day, these people sign bills. So, it reflects his thinking. I dare hope it is not the thinking of the other senators,” said NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel.

Fellow Tory Senator Bob Runciman said Boisvenu’s comments were made in the “heat of the moment” but didn’t speak for the rest of the government.

Runciman also defended Boisvenu’s continued membership on the committee that is studying Bill C-10, the government crime bill that will raise minimum sentences.

“I think he is a significant asset to the committee in terms of representing the concerns of the victims of crime. He has a huge credibility in Quebec, especially with respect to the tragedy that befell his family and the loss of his daughter,” Runciman said. “So, I think he’s a valuable member of the committee.”

The CSC says that since 2008 there have been 28 suicide deaths of individuals in federal custody.

Full Article

Why is he apoligising? Was it due to him having a thought? Him having opinions and feelings? What did he do?

Personally, I think what he said is great. Hey, I am pro death penalty especially when it comes to serial killers or baby rapers but just giving them a rope and hoping is not so bad. I can back that.

  1. I think it was bad politics. These folks committing suicide en masse is only going to make them sympathetic to the general public. We already have people falling in love with them and supporting them and not the victims…. this would just make matters worse.

    I also would like to see the death penalty off the table. Not because of any love for serial killers, but because I’ve worked in prisons and watched them milk the publicity they get. A life without sentence takes that away from them, and it’s a far worse punishment. There are things worse than death, and for a narcissist to not have an audience is one of the worst punishments of all.

    • Rumpydog,

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and opinions on this.

      I do agree that mass suicides in prisons would be a problem. I just feel bad for this man, his daughter was raped and killed, he made an opinion based on his experience which includes that one and he got slammed for it.

      If I really thought that them living life in prison would deminish their popularity and support I might agree. I do not think it would. Serial killers that are now spending L.I.P get a lot of mail and ‘fans’.

      I also can not help but remember that these guys have no reason not to be a problem, even a threat, while serving their time. What are we going to do, add on to the life scentences if they rape or kill another while in jail?
      That includes all people who enter the prison, guards, administration, electricians, plumbers, clergy, medical personnel as well as other prisoners.
      Not to mention the costs and fears that occur when a ‘lifer’ throws bodily fluids at others or decides to lock themselves in causing the staff to extract them, putting all of them in risk.

      The prisoner who gets the most mail is Charles Manson (not a serial killer, but certainly a monster) and he is in for life.

    • Friggin Loon
    • February 7th, 2012

    Death penalty WITH compulsory organ transplants I say 🙂

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