Those who reject capital punishment tend to be noisemakers who are not inflicted with the pain and agony of losing someone in an act of homicide. I suspect these opponents would change their views instantly if their loved ones were brutally murdered,
But when it is about other victims -- whether it's 8-year-old Tori Stafford, or those of other previous horrific cases such as the serial killer and rapist, Paul Bernardo; the Shafia family who were convicted of murdering their own daughters and their step mother; or the convicted BC serial killer, Robert Pickton -- opponents of the death penalty unfailing start preaching about mercy and forgiveness because for them, the victim is someone else's family.
The majority of Canadians, however, favour the return of capital punishment.
According to a recent poll, the majority of Canadians support return of death penalty:
"The survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion in partnership with the Toronto Star found that 63 per cent of the 1,002 Canadians surveyed across the country believe the death penalty is sometimes appropriate. Sixty-one per cent said capital punishment, which was abolished in Canada in 1976, is warranted for murder."
Meanwhile Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to hold a referendum on capital punishment, despite an online campaign to do so started by Canadians horrified by the Tori Stafford case. (On May 20, 2009, police charged Michael Thomas Rafferty, 28, with first degree murder and Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, with being an accessory to murder of the little girl, who was abducted outside her school; McClintic has pleaded guilty. Rafferty is currently on trial.)
And the PM's refusal to re-open the debate flies in the face of a 2011 Abacus Data survey, in which 66% of Canadians indicated they want the death penalty to be used in cases like Tori's, just as they called for it when they learned about the details of the deaths of Tammy Homolka, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French -- all victims of serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Some also think capital punishment is justified in the recent Shafia family murder case.
Harper's stance even flies in the face of his own views. In an interview with the CBC, aired January 19, 2011, Harper said, "I personally think there are times where capital punishment is appropriate," but added that he has "no plans to bring that issue forward."
Canada has hanged 710 people since capital punishment was enacted in 1859. A moratorium was placed on the death penalty in 1967; and in 1976, the death penalty was formally abolished (by a narrow majority in the House) from the Criminal Code.
Keeping brutal murderers behind bars, feeding and educating them with taxpayer's money is an insult to the victims and a mockery to the justice system.
The death penalty is the only punishment that suits the crime of murder; it creates a sense of balance in the scales of justice. As Ernest van den Haag states in his book (co-authored with John P. Conrad), The Death Penalty: A Debate: "Innocent life is best secured by telling those who would take it that they will forfeit their own lives."
Society must retain the death penalty in order to establish justice, especially for those innocent victims whose lives are so horrifically and unfairly taken.