Update and Petition on Ron Smith Getting Death Penalty
Once again I am stunned by the penchant of the political right for cruelty and a total lack of empathy. I simply cannot understand how being a human being oneself, it can be so impossible to feel empathy for another human being, even one who has made the enormous mistakes Ron has. Ronald has admitted to killing 2 men 30+ years ago. And if true, it is the most serious of damage one person can do to another and to their respective families. I'm not sure what the answer is when these circumstances occur, what is an appropriate manner for those responsible to accept responsibility and to make whatever amends possible. But I feel quite certain about this, 30 years in the hole and then being put to death by the state which writes laws against killing - is wrong. It just is.
Sign the Petition to support Ronald and stop his execution.
Are thereany people in Canada working on this issue from a community level?Please leave a comment or send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Baird slammed for 'cynical' clemency plea
Double-murderer Ronald Smith asks to be spared death penalty
By RANDY BOSWELL, Postmedia NewsJanuary 21, 2012
Opposition critics and one of Canada's leading opponents of the death
penalty are denouncing Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for sending a
brief letter to the Montana parole board in which he appears to only
half-heartedly request clemency for convicted killer Ronald Smith, the
only Canadian on death row in the United States.
Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International-Canada, described the letter as "deeply disappointing."
federal NDP's justice critic, Jack Harris, called it a "deplorable"
indication of the Conservative government's stance on capital
punishment, and Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc said the "weak" and "cynical"
letter could effectively sink Smith's bid to avoid death by lethal
In the letter, Baird prefaces his request by noting
that the government was ordered to lend its support to Smith by the
Federal Court of Canada. He then states that the government "does not
sympathize with violent crime" and that Canada's formal request for
clemency "should not be construed as reflecting a judgment on Smith's
The letter from Baird was included this week in Smith's
formal application to have his death sentence for killing two Montana
men in 1982 commuted to life imprisonment.
The request is expected
to prompt an investigation by parole board officials, a formal hearing
within the next four months and eventually a non-binding recommendation
from the board to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on whether Smith
deserves to avoid execution.
The 19-page application for clemency -
accompanied by two other lengthy and impassioned letters of support for
the 54-year-old Smith from a Catholic priest and prison educator -
detailed Smith's record as a model inmate at the Montana State Prison,
the failure of his first lawyer to accept a 1983 plea bargain that would
have spared Smith's life, the abusive childhood Smith suffered growing
up in Alberta and his "heartfelt remorse" over the crimes he committed
nearly 30 years ago.
"Clearly, a more robust letter conveying
detailed and forceful support would be constructive, including laying
out the reasons why (in addition to a court order) the government
believes Mr. Smith deserves clemency," Neve said.
"There are many such reasons."
acknowledged that having Canada officially "on the record" as backing
the clemency bid is "obviously welcome" - even if the Conservative
government's support is, at best, lukewarm.
"It's very, very
cynical to begin a letter to the Montana parole board by saying 'Look, I
don't really want to do this, but I've been forced to,'" said LeBlanc.
"If we think it's wrong to impose the death penalty on Canadians in
Canada, we should have a consistent application of that principle when
foreign jurisdictions are subjecting Canadians to that potential