Canadian government involvement
The Government of Canada had maintained an interest in Smith's case since 1983, with Canadian consular officials communicating with some regularity with Smith, with his lawyers, with prison officials, with the Office of the Governor of Montana, with other Montana state officials, and with the U.S. Department of State.
Beginning in 1997, Canadian consular officials had requested clemency for Smith on humanitarian grounds; the Governor of Montana apparently showed some sympathy to these requests.
In October/November 2007, however, the government of Canada announced that it would not seek clemency for Smith; whereas Canadian government policy had always been to seek clemency through diplomatic channels for Canadians sentenced to death in foreign countries, the government now announced a new policy: "that multiple murderers and mass murderers who are convicted in a democracy that adheres to the rule of law cannot necessarily count on a plea for clemency from the Canadian government and patriation back to this country." As of 2010, Smith remains on Montana's death row.
Counsel for Smith launched a proceeding in Canada's Federal Court against the cabinet ministers responsible for the change in Canada's policy. In a decision rendered on March 4, 2009, Mr. Justice Barnes found that the Canadian government did not have a coherent new policy on seeking clemency in death-penalty cases, and therefore the government was required to apply the former policy to Smith's case. The court did not determine whether there is, generally, a legal duty on the government to help its citizens sentenced to death abroad; rather, the court based its decision on issues of procedural fairness, holding that before withdrawing support of Smith's clemency application, the government had a duty to consult fully with Smith and his legal advisors, followed by a fair and objective consideration of the appropriateness of applying any new policy to the facts of his case. In the result, the court ordered the Government of Canada to "take all reasonable steps to support [Smith's] case for clemency before the Governor of Montana and his advisors in accordance with the current government policy." 
The government did not appeal the ruling of the Federal Court, and on June 19, 2009, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon said that the government is complying with the court ruling. Earlier the same day, Cannon explained the government's policy as follows: "Our government respects the decisions made by sovereign, democratic states. We are determined to ensure that justice is served for Canadians abroad. In that regard, we will continue to study each instance on a case by case basis and, where appropriate, seek clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty abroad."
Smith is, as of 2011, the only Canadian on death row in the United States.[...]