Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mississauga South has touched on an important point.
He will allow me to point out that in 1976, when section 745 was adopted, the average length of detention for capital murder in Canada was 13.2 years. The penalty for what was later to be called first degree murder had, therefore, been made far more severe.
In my opinion, then, those trying to prove that sentences have got lighter are barking up the wrong tree, or else I have a poor understanding of the history of our Criminal Code. Perhaps I need someone else to explain it to me, but since 1976 sentences have
become harsher, given that there has been no death penalty since 1962.
From 1962 to 1976, however, the length of time a person was imprisoned for capital murder, premeditated murder, or murder in the first degree, was barely over 13 years.
We now have a formal guarantee that the minimum is 15 years. I am convinced that, with the present wording of section 745, it will be much more, in the order of 20 or 25 years. So people must stop circulating this false idea that sentences are getting lighter.
Personally, I am an abolitionist, having assumed in my own life, as well as in the lives of those I have had a hand in educating, that killing someone to teach him that murder was unacceptable was no way to teach anyone anything. A second execution, even in the name of the state, makes no positive contribution. More people are left to mourn, more wounds are opened, and I cannot morally support the way things were done in the past.
Times have changed, and fortunately things are different today. But we are still faced with the problem of section 745, because this is what today's motion is about. It is not settled. This debate will probably turn into an endless one, to be started up again every time it is necessary.