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Quebec MP favours death penalty

"You shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead." A judge has uttered these words to 1,300 Canadians. More than 700 of them actually went to the gallows before Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976. But opinions on the noose have tended to shift over time. Protests in the 1960s were met with questions about preventing the murder of police officers and prison guards. Today, the debate is ongoing, especially for multiple murderers like Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo.

In 1966, politicians prepare to vote on whether to abolish capital punishment. Should the Canadian government be allowed to hang its criminals? Liberal Member of Parliament Auguste Choquette answers with an impassioned "Yes!"

"It's a good deterrent, and we need it," Choquette tells CBC Radio in the days leading up to the vote. Until Canadian criminology improves, he believes murderers should be sent to the gallows.

And he says most MPs will vote like him -- in favour of the death penalty.
. Attempts to abolish the death penalty in Canada date back to 1914. That year and each year until 1918, Montreal MP Robert Bickerdike introduced a parliamentary bill to replace capital punishment with life in prison.
. Two other noted attempts in the House of Commons were by Calgary MP William Irvine in 1924 and Saskatchewan MP Ross Thatcher in 1950.

. In 2001, Amnesty International reported that 84 countries still retained capital punishment. It said no fewer than 3,048 people worldwide were executed in 2001.
. China accounted for 2,468 of those executions in 2001.
. In 2002, Lesotho's parliament brought back the death penalty for rapists who are HIV positive.
. In the United States in 2003, 38 states still retained the death penalty.

. There were 152 executions in Texas when George W. Bush was governor from 1995 to 2000.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: March 25, 1966
Guest(s): Auguste Choquette
Host: Lloyd Robertson
Duration: 2:18

Last updated: March 6, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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