CANADA: Off With the Gallows?

Like many criminal lawyers, Canada's Prime Minister John Diefenbaker is deeply opposed to capital punishment. Last week it appeared that he might soon ask Parliament to abolish it. In the last fortnight, his Conservative Cabinet, which must review all executions, has reprieved three murderers from the gallows—all cases in which the juries had not recommended mercy.

An attempt by the Cabinet to do away with the death penalty simply by adopting a blanket policy of commutation would almost certainly provoke a storm. Instead, Diefenbaker is expected to arrange for a private abolition bill to be presented for a free vote...

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