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LETTER: Time to reconsider the death penalty?

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

I wish to comment on the report in The Telegram of Jan. 30, regarding the reported guilty pleas of Bruce McArthur to eight counts of first-degree murder.

Inevitably, McArthur will receive a sentence of life imprisonment. One is left to wonder what plea deal, if any, was offered to McArthur to induce the guilty pleas.

This case raises once again the issue of capital punishment — the death penalty. McArthur is likely to live at least 20 more years, his upkeep maintained by the Canadian taxpayer.

Capital punishment was removed from Canadian judicial consideration officially in 1976 by politicians who had no mandate from the Canadian people to do so.

Polls on the issue have revealed Canadian public support for the restoration of capital punishment for premeditated murder to be about 60 per cent (as per a 2013 public opinion poll).

At the very least the Canadian public should be given the opportunity to vote on whether or not the death penalty should be restored to Canadian law.

Notorious child killer Clifford Olsen mercilessly mocked his victims’ families from behind bars while he was collecting a pension. (Editor’s note: The federal government changed this in 2010, preventing inmates serving sentences of two years or more from receiving their pensions while in prison. Olson died in 2011. Media reports at the time indicate his retirement benefits while in jail were put into a trust.)

Recently a convicted child killer was moved without notice to a Correctional Service Canada-run healing lodge where she enjoyed her time until there was such a public outrage the Liberal politicians had the killer removed back to a medium-security prison.

There is also the case of the nurse who deliberately murdered helpless old people in her care. These kind of cases merit consideration of capital punishment.

Liberal politicians and academics have undermined the sentencing principle of retribution in sentencing law.

However, the Canadian people have a right to voice their opinion on the issue and there should be a national vote on the restoration of capital punishment in Canadian law.

Robin Reid

St. John’s

Editor’s note: Bruce McArthur was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years on Friday afternoon — after this letter was written. He will not be eligible to apply for parole until he is 91 years old. Read details on the sentence here.

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