Thursday, August 13, 1998 

Death for cop killers


 Cop killers should be executed, Ontario's justice ministers say.

Solicitor General Bob Runciman and Attorney General Charles Harnick are calling for the return of the death penalty in the wake of the murder of Det.-Const. Bill Hancox last week.

"When there is no question of guilt, capital punishment is appropriate," Runciman said yesterday. "I don't think I would want to restrict it to police killers. I think it is an appropriate penalty for the crime; I don't think it is a deterrent."

He said serial killers like Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olson deserve the same treatment.

"The death penalty is the appropriate response to those kinds of individuals."

Harnick echoed Runciman.

"I think there are circumstances where I would agree very much with that," Harnick said.

But Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty said: "I don't think it is appropriate to kill the killers. I'm opposed to that."

McGuinty cautioned against jumping on the issue when "passions run high."

Parliament abolished hanging in 1976. The last execution in Canada was held at the Don Jail in 1962. In 1987, Parliament voted 148-127 against restoring the death penalty.

Runciman said he is prepared to lobby Ottawa for the restoration of execution. Runciman said at one time he opposed the death penalty. That changed years ago at a funeral for a cop when he saw the face of a boy standing over his father's grave.

Runciman cautioned he wouldn't want to see the law applied in a haphazard way. "We would have to make sure all of the protections are put in place so that can be accomplished." 



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