In 1982 Alberta-born Ronald Smith killed two residents of Montana in a drunken rage. Smith was caught, convicted and sentenced to death.
Smith has now been on death row for nearly 26 years. During those years it has been generally the policy of Canadian governments to try to shield Canadian citizens in foreign countries from the death penalty. The Harper government has dropped that policy and so dropped its efforts to save Mr. Smith from execution.
Yesterday Mr. Justice Robert Barnes of the Federal Court of Canada ordered the government to revert to the earlier policy and to resume diplomatic efforts to spare the life of Mr. Smith and pave the way for his possible transfer to a prison in Canada.
Canada banned capital punishment in 1976. It seems clear to me the Canadian government should try to extend that ban to Canadian citizens condemned to death in other countries. Sadly the United States is one of the very few western countries that still uses capital punishment. It is ironic that so civilized a country maintains the so uncivilized policy as the death penalty.
Do you agree that the Canadian government should use every diplomatic and legal effort to save Mr. Smith?