I really don't think it is a stretch to say that only a conservative could come up with something this brazenly evil and stupid and then try to sell it as a way to save taxpayers' money. That it is a member of the Canadian senate proposing it just proves the point that conservatives don't do irony.
"Basically, every killer should (have) the right to his own rope in his cell. They can decide whether to live," Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu told reporters Wednesday.
A victims' rights advocate and now a senator, Boisvenu also says the death penalty should be considered in certain cases when there's no hope of rehabilitation.
He says limited use of capital punishment could save money.
That is some weapons-grade dumb. Leaving aside the myriad practical problems entailed in giving prisoners ready access to a means of killing, the moral implications and contradictions here are stunning.
Given that Senator Boisvenu is paid $132,300 in taxpayers' dollars plus expenses and office budget and free travel for
I know we coddle convicts by giving them three trays of hospital/high school cafeteria food a day, a cot, a warm place to shit, basic medical care and unlimited opportunities to be gang raped, stabbed or beaten by younger stronger inmates and even guards, all while giving up any privacy and personal freedom and being locked away from the rest of the world. White collar thieves like Bruce Carson and Conrad Black aside, for most people a prison sentence of any length means a lifetime of marginal existence and poverty. Institutionalization is a difficult mindset to leave behind. Prison changes people and having done time makes finding a job of any kind a lot more difficult, never mind finding a good job. Ex-cons are about the last group it is still okay to discriminate against. Most people in prison are there for good reasons, but the idea that we don't treat them badly enough is pretty popular on the right. Maybe in addition to encouraging them to commit suicide so there will be enough money for MP and Senate pensions, we could introduce mandatory daily electrical shocks delivered via heavy iron collars and tattoo the prisoners crimes on their foreheads as an added deterrent just to make sure we are being tough on crime.
At the same times, we make things so very, very hard for Senators. Did you know that if they miss two consecutive sessions of parliament that they could lose their seat? They need to show up roughly twice a year until they are 75 to keep collecting a salary. That is pretty arduous - just imagine if you had to sit next to Mike Duffy for a few hours twice a year for a paltry $2500 a week. Mind you, senators can't just show up any day they want, the Senate only sits about 70 days a year. Sounds hellish, doesn't it? Of course, on the plus side, when they retire or resign at whatever age, Senators get a nice fat pension, no matter what. Admittedly, many of the members - who are all free to collect other salaries and pensions while serving in the Senate - work a little harder than just showing up a few times a year, but they are under no obligation to do so. If none of them showed up for work 364 days a year and simply raised a hand to vote through a list of the government's legislation annually, I doubt if anyone would notice the difference.
Prisons cost the taxpayer about $3 billion a year in 2005/2006, with most of that money being paid out in salaries to guards and other corrections staff, and costs for feeding and clothing inmates, money that also goes back into the economy. Prisoners often work at prison workshops, producing goods for the government like licence plates.
Including the costs of maintaining the facilities, paying staff and all other expenses, it cost an average of $259.05 per day to incarcerate a federal prisoner in 2004/2005, none of which is paid to the prisoner. That is what it costs to keep a criminal off the streets.
In addition to the cost of running the senate, paying senate staff, maintaining the facilities, paying senate pensions and senators travel and expenses, senators are paid $363.46 per day, or if we calculate on the basis of working days for a five day week/ 50 week year it comes to $529.20 per working day. If we assume a busy senate year in which they sit for 90 days, that would be $1,470 per day. All of which goes into the pockets of someone who is only required to show up to work twice a year to keep the gravy train running. That is what it costs to keep 105 political water carriers in the regal style to which they have become accustomed and to provide parliament with sober second thought.
If we are so keen on saving money, maybe we should give each senator a length of rope.
Addendum: Yes, I do realize that Senator Boisvenu's daughter was abducted, raped and murdered in 2007. Personal revenge is not a good basis for public policy.
Update: The answer to the question "Who watches SUN-TV News?" - the missing information of course is how many messages did he get saying he was a bloodthirsty jackass?