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Canadians On Death Row In The States Can't Come Home Again

By KJ Mullins     Nov 2, 2007 in Crime
Canadians sitting on death row on the other side of the border have lost the chance to seek a lesser sentence on their home turf. Although for decades those facing the death penalty had a chance to come to Canadian jails that is no longer an option.
At this time the only person the new rule will affect is Ronald Smith, a 50-year-old Albertan awaiting the death penalty in Montana. For the past 25 years he has been spared the needle after he was convicted over killing two Native American men in 1982. That is however no longer the case as Canada will not be standing behind the man any longer.
We are not going to seek clemency in cases in democratic countries, like the United States, where there has been a fair trial," says the new policy, issued just days after the government had reiterated Canada's traditional opposition to the death penalty and its ongoing commitment to seek clemency for Smith.
The ruling though has many shaking their heads. Canada opposes the death penalty. By not standing behind citizens that are convicted in counties that have capital punishment does that put the footing in the door to change the policy?
e think it's deeply troubling - in our view a misguided and inhumane position for a government to take," Mark Warren, co-ordinator of U.S. issues for Amnesty International-Canada.
"It puts Canada in the unenviable position of being the only country in the world that's abolished the death penalty that now refuses to seek clemency on behalf of its death-sentence citizens abroad."
Smith has already used all of his appeals. Unless his sentence get commuted to life in prison Canada will not help him. It now becomes likely that Smith will be the first Canadian in this century to be executed by the United States.
More about Canadians, United States, Death row