By Breanne Massey
Families are holding onto their children a little bit tighter ever since the murder of a two-year-old Blairmore girl and her father struck a nerve for Canadians everywhere.
Derek James Saretzky was arrested last week and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Terry Blanchette and his daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Banchette. He also faces an additional charge of an indignity to a body in relation to Haileys death.
However, Mr. Saretzys case was quickly adjourned from Lethbridge court on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd. Mr. Saretzky, who hired Edmonton lawyer Peter Northcott, didnt appear in person or via CCTV last week.
While none of the familys relatives attended last Wednesdays brief court session, there has been no shortage of debate about harsher penalties in Canada.
In fact, Fort MacLeod mother of two, Kayla Busch, and her husband recently started a campaign known as Justice for Hailey to demand the harshest penalty for Terry and Haileys killer, and the couple is also calling for the return of the death penalty.
But before we condemn Mr. Saretzky or any other person charged with a crime to the death penalty, which the federal government officially abolished in 1976, take some time to think about the big picture.
If the death penalty was reintroduced in Canada, there would be legal problems, as it infringes on Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, taking away a persons right to life, liberty and security. Although the maximum sentence for murder in Canada is life in prison with the opportunity to apply for parole after serving 25 years, we need to ensure that Canada does not simply repeat someones wrong out of retaliation.
The one characteristic that sets society apart from criminals is that it does not resort to brutal violence to ensure justice has been met for the victims of any crime. We need to uphold the principles of justice, including the right to offer a fair trial while ensuring the public is safe and justice has been met on a national level and not stoop down to the same level as criminals.