Dion wants Canadian's death sentence commuted

Nov 22, 2007 02:55 PM


OTTAWA Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has written to the governor of Montana asking him to commute the death sentence of a convicted murderer from Canada.

Ronald Allen Smith was convicted in the deaths of two Montana Indians in 1982.

Dion says he's taken up his case because the Conservative government is not representing the views of most Canadians.

He says the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is also ignoring longstanding Canadian law and policy on the death-penalty issue by refusing to appeal for Smith's life.

Dion adds that by refusing to ask Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer to commute Smith's death sentence and reneging on Canada's decision to co-sponsor a UN resolution opposing the death penalty, the Tories have changed Canada's policy "by stealth."

Canada abolished the death penalty more than 30 years ago and again voted against its use after a protracted debate in 1987.

The Conservatives recently announced that Canada will no longer seek clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty in other democracies when they are deemed to have had a fair trial.