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Canada seeking clemency for double-murderer in Montana: FM

The Canadian government said Friday it has sought clemency Leniency or mercy. A power given to a public official, such as a governor or the president, to in some way lower or moderate the harshness of punishment imposed upon a prisoner.

Clemency is considered to be an act of grace.
 for a Canadian on death row in Montana, in accordance with a court order, but would decide "case-by-case" whether to do so for others.

"We are complying with the court ruling," Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon Lawrence Cannon, PC, MP (born December 6, 1947) is a Canadian politician from Qu├ębec and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Quebec lieutenant. Geneology
Cannon is the son of government lawyer Louis Cannon and Quebec television broadcast pioneer Rosemary "Posie" Power, and
 told the House of Commons House of Commons: see Parliament. .

But, he added, "we want justice to be done for Canadians abroad and that is why we will continue to study on a case-by-case basis whether we should ask for clemency for Canadians condemned to death abroad."

Ronald Allen
For the footballer, see Ronnie Allen

Ronald Allen (December 16, 1934 - (some sources say 1930) in Reading, Berkshire — June 18, 1991) was an established English character actor.
 Smith was convicted in 1983 of murdering two Americans a year earlier near Glacier National Park Glacier National Park, United States
Glacier National Park, 1,013,572 acres (410,497 hectares), NW Mont.; est. 1910. Straddling the Continental Divide, the park contains some of the most beautiful primitive wilderness in the Rocky Mts.
 in the northwest United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , and was sentenced to death.

During most of the past quarter century, successive Canadian governments have sought clemency on his behalf from the governor of Montana on humanitarian grounds.

But that suddenly changed in November 2007 under a new Conservative administration led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Canada would no longer actively seek clemency for Canadians on death row who had been tried and convicted in democratic countries that support the rule of law, said ministers.

Smith's lawyers argued the policy reversal provided tacit approval for his execution, and breached Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The government, meanwhile, claimed a "royal prerogative" to ignore his plight.

Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes ruled the government has a right to set foreign policy, but its reversal in this case was "arbitrary and unlawful," as it seemingly targeted Smith.
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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Jun 19, 2009
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