02/02/2012 03:53 EST | Updated 04/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Tory Senator Says His Idea To Let Killers Hang Themselves Has Lots Of Support


OTTAWA - A Conservative senator says he's been inundated with expressions of support for his unusual idea of providing rope to help murder convicts commit suicide in prison.

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu says he's received 500 to 600 messages of support in only one day.

Boisvenu had made an apparently off-the-cuff suggestion that killers be given rope in their prison cell — so that they could decide whether to hang themselves.

Although he apologized immediately for the language he used Wednesday, on Thursday he was sounding a little less apologetic.

He said it appeared many Canadians agreed with him.

''The comments I got from 500 people, maybe even 600, said the media are exaggerating this,'' Boisvenu said.

''Also, these people are saying, 'What Mr. Boisvenu said, that's just what people think.' The people who wrote to me, the majority are victims.''

Boisvenu was a prominent victims' rights advocate whose daughter was murdered, and who lost another daughter in a car accident. He was named to the Senate last year by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Boisvenu suggested this week that he might agree with the death penalty in limited cases, because it could save the state on incarceration costs. He cited the multimillion-dollar cost of jailing killers like Clifford Olson and the Shafias.

Boisvenu said capital punishment could be used only in cases where there was no hope of rehabilitation.

But he added that he was against systematic capital punishment and he also stressed that the prime minister has made it clear he doesn't want to reopen the debate. Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976 and the last executions were in 1962.

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