A Quebec man has filed a criminal complaint against Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu for a comment he believes could incite suicide.

The complaint comes after the Conservative senator said this week that he was against the death penalty, but not opposed to ropes being left in the cells of serial killers who have no chance of rehabilitation. He said they should have the option of taking their own life.

The senator later apologized for the comment.


Jacques McBrearty said he believes Boisvenu broke the law when he said some offenders should have ropes in their cells. (Radio-Canada)

Jacques McBrearty, a Saguenay resident, said he was disturbed by Boisvenu’s remarks and decided to file a complaint with provincial police.

"I was quite shocked and upset about the way he talked about the people in jail," McBrearty said.

"If I don’t [file a complaint], who will? I’m the kind of guy that if something needs to be done, I do it myself."

Under the Canadian Criminal Code, it is an offence to counsel, assist or encourage anyone to commit suicide.

McBrearty said he has struggled with depression himself and said the senator’s comments were inappropriate. He said the point of the criminal system in Canada is justice, not vengeance.

Criminal Code of Canada

Counselling or aiding suicide

241. Everyone who

  • (a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or

  • (b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide,

whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

"They’re still human beings and the way that the future generations will judge us is the way that we treat the lowest of us," he said.

McBrearty filed the complaint with the provincial police Thursday.

The Sûreté du Québec confirmed Friday they had received a complaint. A spokesperson said it would likely be forwarded to the RCMP since Boisvenu lives and works in Ottawa.

On Thursday, Boisvenu said he’s received significant support for his comments and that he was simply expressing an opinion many Canadians hold.

Boisvenu, whose daughter was murdered in 2002, said he does believe in rehabilitation.

McBrearty said the senator's apology doesn’t go far enough.

"I hope he will understand that what he did was wrong," he said.

"Hearing what I heard since this morning and last night, that’s far from done yet."