The Conservative government’s universally-condemned omnibus crime Bill C-10 has a confirmed YES vote in the Senate. The name behind the vote: tough-on-crime Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.
Earlier today, Boisvenu said a prisoner “should have the right to a rope in his cell to make a decision about his or her life.”
The Quebec senator, appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2010, crossed the line on many levels here.
In Canada, encouraging suicide is a crime. So should be encouraging our prison system to break the Criminal Code. In fact, the code prescribes real jail time – 14 years – for individuals who incite someone to commit suicide.
Indirectly, the senator is also, suggesting that the death penalty be restored. He just doesn’t have the guts to say it.
Boisvenu’s statement may offend Canadians affected by prison-related suicides. The majority of people in our jails suffer from mental illness. And, suicide is usually a tragic end of a mental illness.
In typical Conservative know-all style, Boisvenu claimed to speak for Canadians. Especially, victims of crime. According to this CBC report, Boisvenu claimed that he was “making public views that had been expressed to him by victims of crime about their wishes for serial killers.”
That the senator has apologized is neither here nor there. He probably apologized only after a good kick in the nuts by our disciplinarian PM.
The senator is bad news for progressives and opponents of Bill C-10. They have consistently argued that legislation would obliterate Canada’s humane, compassion-based criminal justice system. Boisvenu sits on the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee, the committee that is studying Bill C-10.
Boisvenu is a victim of violent crime. In June 2002, his older daughter was murdered by a repeat offender.
I get it.
And, our Conservative-dominated Senate is an unelected, anti-democratic institution. Before it’s reformed or abolished, we expect it to be governed by maturity and sobriety. It’s still a place of leadership, not ideology-driven personal vendettas. Or extremist revenge fantasies.
And then there is Canada. It’s still Canada, not some lawless dictatorship where criminals are dragged to the public square and hanged for sport. Or as a means to decrease the “surplus population” of criminals.
Cross-posted on: www.occupy-ottawa.org