A Plea on Compassionate Grounds
Please HELP to spread the word!!
My name is Lisa Alexander and I am writing to you on behalf of my 73 year old father, Ian Jackson MacDonald, who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. My father is currently serving a two year sentenced house arrest in Winnipeg, Canada for a crime that was committed over 32 years ago for trafficking marijuana from Florida into Winnipeg. My father’s last dying wish is to die at his home in Pennsylvania where he and his wife have lived for over 20 years. I am trying to get the word out with hopes that I can get both the Canadian and American governments to listen to our plea! My father was arrested in Florida in 1979 and placed under federal custody while waiting to be extradited back to Canada to be tried for his crime. While in prison he was sent to a Florida hospital where he managed to escape. He was never to be heard from for over 30 years.
In 1968 my parents divorced. Our mother remarried and moved us to California in 1975, where we have resided ever since. In 1974 my father relocated to Florida, remarried, and helped his wife raise her daughter from another marriage. After my father escaped prison, his wife and her daughter joined him and they all ran together. For over 30 years we did not hear from our father, we didn't know whether he was alive or dead.
In January 2011 my father was rearrested in Florida and placed in prison. Canada and the United States worked together on figuring out who was going to try him for this very old crime. Meanwhile, my siblings and I were able to reconnect with him on the phone while he was in custody at the Florida prison. Words cannot explain the emotions we have experienced knowing that our father is still alive. All of the charges were dropped in Florida and he was extradited back to Canada to be prosecuted for marijuana trafficking.
In March of 2011, an extensive medical evaluation was performed and he was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had already spread to his bladder and bones. He also suffers from diabetes and heart problems which have left him confined to a wheelchair. The doctors estimated his life expectancy to be approximately 0 to 36 months. It has been almost seventeen months since that diagnosis.
During September of 2011, my sister and I traveled to Winnipeg to attend his court sentencing. At the hearing my father pleaded guilty to marijuana trafficking and was sentenced to two years house arrest. He is currently serving his time at a nursing home in Winnipeg because he now requires full time medical care. My sister, brother and I have visited him on several occasions and are working on rebuilding our relationship with him. As one might imagine, this has been very difficult for us, but we have chosen to put the hurt and anger behind us because we know our time with him is very limited.
"Be better, not bitter." This is old saying always comes to my mind when we are criticized by those who do not agree with our decision to forgive our father. These people just do not understand that to forgive does not always mean to forget.
My dad’s pain has progressively worsened to the point that he is now on morphine 24 hours a day. My father has served 11 months of his 2 year house arrest alone in the nursing home with no visitors and no one to oversee his medical needs and personal affairs. He currently has a U.S. immigration attorney working to get him back in the United States to be with his wife in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, I have contacted Attorney General Eric Holder of the U.S. and Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania. I have sent a letter to Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security. I have also sent letters, e-mails, and made phone calls to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Crown Attorney Ian Mahon of Manitoba, and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions George Dolhai of Ottawa. I have even called, e-mailed, and sent a letter to the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston asking if he could grant clemency. I have been contacting these government officials with hopes that they would take into consideration the time my dad has already served and his medical condition thus possibly shortening his sentence. So far I have not had any success, but I am determined to keep trying.
As a family, we are asking you to please help us get the word out so someone in government will listen and help us get our father back to the United States so we can grant him his last wishes and he can go home to a familiar place and be with his wife in his last days.
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