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Death Takes
A Holiday

by Stephen Lautens


February 23, 2001

The Supreme Court of Canada has gone into the travel agency business catering to a very exclusive clientele. It has made Canada the destination of choice for the world's murderers.

Last week the Supremes unanimously decided that the Government of Canada cannot deport people wanted for murder in other countries if they could face the death penalty for their crimes. It ruled it would be inhumane and contrary to justice for these naughty visitors to our shores to be sent back to face the ultimate music.

Of course this gets us into the whole death penalty debate. I'm not sure where I stand on the whole question. I think I'm generally against it, then along comes a Bernardo and the rule book goes out the window faster than a chocolate cake at a Jenny Craig meeting.

The older I get the more certain I am that there are some people who would be greatly improved by being dead. I'm not about to shed a lot of tears for someone like Charles Ng who was finally sent back to California after seven years here, to be sentenced to death for torturing and killing six men, three women and two children.

No doubt he was misunderstood as a child, or not breastfed or something mitigating. After all, as they say your Honour, it was a first offence.

On the other hand, you have a few trigger-happy places like Texas, where they don't seem to have any trouble applying the death penalty to children and the mentally handicapped. A fast fair trial and a hanging immediately afterwards. Probably the only place in the world where the last meal is Cap'n Crunch and the condemned is allowed to bring one Beanie Baby to the chair.

Plus there's that pesky fact that countries everywhere have been convicting and executing the wrong people for quite some time.

And that's why our Supreme Court doesn't want us sending anyone anywhere they could end up taking a ride on old Sparky. Any country who wants to try a murderer hiding out in Canada now has to promise that if convicted, they won't be end up a Texas barbeque.

If they won't promise to let the accused rot in jail instead, we just won't let the murderers out to play. So there. We'll just keep those (alleged) killers in Canada until those less enlightened countries see the error of their ways.

Wait a minute - I think there may be a problem here. Maybe the Supreme Court hasn't really thought this through. What if a Ted Bundy shows up here and the people looking for him won't promise to let him off with just forty-three consecutive life sentences? Are we supposed to keep him? Can we hold him without trial, especially if he hasn't done anything here?

What about Nazi war criminals? I guess we're stuck with them too.

Since we're rolling out the red carpet, maybe what we have to do is build a condo for them next to the Supreme Court in Ottawa. That way our new guests can rub elbows with the Supremes and pop over whenever they need a cup of sugar or box of bullets.

And by the way, they prefer not to be called murderers - they prefer the politically correct term "homicidally challenged."

© Stephen Lautens 2001

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