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Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: Deny Robert Latimer's Request for Pardon

Inclusion BC has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support the request made by the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) urging him and the Government of Canada to deny convicted murderer Robert Latimer's recent application for a pardon and ministerial review.

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street Ottawa
Ontario K1A 0A2

23 July, 2018

Dear Prime Minister,

Re: Convicted murderer Robert Latimer's recent application for a ministerial review and pardon

Inclusion BC is a provincial federation whose members include people with intellectual disabilities, families and community agencies. We advocate for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. We also provide one to one support to individuals and families, many having children with multiple disabilities and health issues, but living full and meaningful lives in their community.

We are writing to you today to support and strongly reinforce the request made by the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) urging you and the Government of Canada to do what is right: deny convicted murderer Robert Latimer's recent application for a ministerial review and pardon. The taking of another life represents the most serious crime in our criminal justice system. A suggestion that Mr. Latimer had no option but to murder his daughter has already been soundly rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The notion of comparing murder by carbon monoxide poisoning to palliative sedations as stated in Robert Latimer’s Pardon Application is reason enough to uphold the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, for Tracy was not dying. Highlighted in Canada's Supreme Court decision was the fact that Tracy enjoyed music, bonfires and being with her family. She liked to listen to music on the radio, which she could use with a special button. Tracy could recognize family members and friends from school, and she would express joy at seeing them. Tracy also loved being rocked gently by her parents.

The court found that Tracy's life was, in fact, worth living while her father had not. As such, a pardon for Robert Latimer would be a direct injustice to Tracy and her legacy and perpetuate society's stigmatization against people who have disabilities. This stigmatization sees people with disabilities as less-than-human with lives not worth living.

We ask the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice to reject Robert Latimer's request and respect the Supreme Court's reasoned analysis and upholding of the conviction for second-degree murder. To do otherwise would perpetuate the widespread and dangerous societal stereotype and would directly violate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that Canada ratified in 2010. To pardon Robert Latimer would completely violate the Federal Government’s commitment to making Canada not only one of the most accessible countries, but also a Nation whereby all people are protected under its laws and are recognized as valuable citizens.

Respectfully yours,

Karla Verschoor, Executive Director, Inclusion BC

Fiona Whittington-Walsh, President, Inclusion BC