Disability rights advocates monitor Robert Latimer parole decision

    NEW WESTMINSTER, BC, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association for
Community Living (CACL) and the BC Association for Community Living (BCACL)
will be observers at the parole hearing for Robert Latimer tomorrow, Wednesday
December 5. Latimer was convicted of second degree murder after he killed
Tracy Latimer, his 12 year old daughter who had cerebral palsy. In 2001,
across Canada, disability rights advocates applauded the Supreme Court's
decision upholding Latimer's sentence of second degree murder with a mandatory
minimum of 10 years. CACL, BCACL and other organizations work to defend the
interests of people with disabilities and their families.
    Our role is to advocate for Tracy and other people with disabilities to
ensure their equal protection under the law. We want Tracy's life and humanity
to be remembered, valued and honoured.
    We recognize that the parole board has the responsibility to make the
decision about parole, and we will accept their decision. However, we believe
it is important to consider the fact that Mr. Latimer has shown absolutely no
remorse over the last 14 years. He continues to maintain that murdering Tracy
was the right thing to do.
    We do not want a decision to grant day parole to diminish the fact that
Mr. Latimer murdered Tracy and the profound seriousness of his crime. Nor
would we want the public to interpret such a decision to mean that Mr. Latimer
is in any way being excused for his actions.
    We will observe tomorrow's hearings to honour the memory and value of
Tracy Latimer's life. Usually victims have the opportunity to speak in parole
hearings. Yet Tracy's voice has been silenced.
    We can't help but wonder if a father had been convicted of killing his
daughter who did not have a disability and showed no remorse for his actions -
would he be granted parole? The question remains.

For further information:

For further information: Interview Opportunities: Rory Summer,
President, BCACL, Laney Bryenton, Executive Director, BCACL, and representing
CACL; Telephone Interview Opportunity: Michael Bach, Executive Vice-President,
CACL, ph: (416) 209-7942; Harini Rajagopal, Director of Communications, BCACL,
(778) 239-9394, (604) 777-9100. ext 527, hrajagopal@bcacl.org

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