Following days of debate between provincial and federal politicians, the McConnell family has released their own response to the news that Allyson McConnell will be deported to her native Australia on Monday.
"Connor and Jayden, we will love you forever. We are so sorry that the woman who took you from us is walking free today." —Ronalee McConnell
Allyson McConnell was convicted of manslaughter in April 2012 after she drowned her two young sons in a bathtub in Millet, Alta.
Although she was sentenced to six years, Allyson received two-for-one credit for time already served prior to trial.
She was released from Alberta Hospital on Thursday — allowing the Canada Border Services Agency to begin the deportation process. This despite the fact that the province is midway through an appeal of Allyson’s sentence.
Ronalee McConnell, speaking as a representative for the entire McConnell family, described the disturbing events leading up to the boys’ deaths in heart-wrenching detail.
"It has been three years and two months since Allyson Meager McConnell took Connor and Jayden for what they thought would be a fun bath time," her statement said.
McConnell claims that the family never received notice from the Crown about Allyson’s release. Instead, she said, the family was shocked and angered to hear of the scheduled deportation through media outlets.
"Why did this information not come to us from the Crown?" she asked. "Why did the Alberta Government not act sooner to ensure Allyson would be here for the appeals?"
Wrapping up the emotional message, the statement addressed the two boys directly: "Connor and Jayden, we will love you forever. We are so sorry that the woman who took you from us is walking free today."
Province did not drop the ball, says minister
Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis responded on Saturday to comments made by federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews suggesting that the province dropped the ball on Allyson McConnell’s case.
Toews issued a written statement late Friday afternoon criticizing what he said is the justice department’s apparent failure to prevent McConnell’s deportation in the midst of the appeals process.
Toews said the province’s failure to act left McConnell "free of any restriction in relation to her crimes."
But Denis said that this is not the case.
The Crown filed an appeal immediately following McConnell’s manslaughter conviction, arguing that her six-year sentence was too lenient, said Denis.
This appeal was still in process when McConnell’s jail term ended.
Although he confirmed that McConnell will likely be sent back to Australia as planned, Denis maintains that the Alberta government did all it could to prevent McConnell’s deportation.
He said that no mistakes were made, adding that he is worried that Toews' comments are further complicating the issue.
"It's concerning to me that this is becoming more political, because I don't think this should be a partisan issue between two governments."
The fight isn't over, says Denis
"I was advised of this [on Wednesday] and we acted immediately," said Denis. "My department has literally been working day and night to find any legal precedent that would require her to stay here."
Unfortunately, he said, no such precedent yet exists.
That is not to say the fight is over, he added; the province will go forward with its appeal despite McConnell’s absence.
"If the appeal is successful, we fully intend to work with the Australian government and have her brought back to Canada to fully answer for her crimes."
"We would like justice to be served ... at the end of the day, we would like her to answer for her crimes in Alberta."
McConnell family speaks out
Curtis McConnell, the father of the two dead boys, issued a statement earlier this week expressing frustration at being kept in the dark about the developments in McConnell's case.
This message was repeated in the second family statement made Sunday.
"We fear that if Allyson Meager McConnell is deported to Australia, we will never see her face justice for the horror and terror she inflicted on two innocent babies before killing them," writes Ronalee McConnell.
"If the Alberta Government was having problems why did they not appeal to the Federal Government for assistance sooner? Why wait until just days before it is too late?"
Despite Denis’ stated determination to see the appeal through, the family remains worried.
"How can we be assured that this case will not get swept under the rug when we have not been kept in the loop up to this point?" asks McConnell in her statement.
"Nothing will bring the boys back, but we would like to see justice and common sense prevail."
Below is an edited version of the letter sent by the McConnell family. Some readers may find the contents disturbing.TEXT OF CUTLINE