Is it possible to both condemn and condone?

Canwest’s Randy Boswell looks at the government’s policy on capital punishment abroad, specifically now its response to a United Nations review panel’s recommendation that Canada reconsider its qualified support for clemency. From Canada’s response.

Canada does not accept recommendation 30. The Government of Canada continues to consider whether to seek clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty abroad as these cases arise. Canadian citizens detained abroad continue to receive consular assistance.

According to a previous Canwest report, Rob Nicholson, now the Justice Minister, was among those MPs who voted for the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1987. The vote failed by a count of 148-127.

During debate in the House last year, Nicholson’s parliamentary secretary, Rob Moore, referenced that vote as so.

We have said before and we will say again, there is no death penalty in Canada. The Minister of Justice and other members of this government have clearly said that this government is not changing the law in our country with respect to the death penalty.

Since December 10, 1962 no one has been executed in Canada. That is over 45 years. On July 14, 1976 the death penalty was removed from the Criminal Code. The death penalty was then removed from the National Defence Act on December 10, 1998. Since that day there has been no death penalty in Canada in law as well as in fact.

In 1987 a free vote regarding the reinstatement of the death penalty was held in the House of Commons. The result of the vote sent a very strong signal that Canadians were in favour of maintaining the abolition of the death penalty. As the Prime Minister has confirmed, this government is not going to reopen this debate in Canada.

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