Dispute over Canada seeking U.S. clemency

March 6, 2009 at 8:58 AM

OTTAWA, March 6 (UPI) -- Canada's Conservative government has come under fire for not seeking clemency for a citizen on death row for a double murder in Montana.

A federal court said in a 34-page ruling the government was obliged to protect Ronald Smith of Alberta, who confessed to fatally shooting two cousins in 1982.

However, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has said it wouldn't intervene in cases in which Canadians were convicted of capital crimes in other countries.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Peter Kent told Sun Media the government was still considering whether to appeal the court ruling and criticized opposition Liberals' calls for intervention.

"It would be nice if the opposition members showed as much compassion and concern for the lives of victims and their families as they do for those of criminals," Kent said.

After Smith confessed to the killings, he said he wanted to be executed but later changed his mind, the report said.

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