Since there is plenty of controversial topics going around this week, from Jim McDonnell claiming the liberals will do away with Natural Gas, to Justin Trudeau’s Manhandling of the Opposition Leader, to the vote on assisted suicide, I decided to sit this one out. Here is, instead, a letter to the editor.
There has been much discussion regarding this question since the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously declared the criminal prohibition against physician-assisted dying unconstitutional, on February 6, 2015. The decision was suspended by the Court to give Parliament and the provincial legislatures time to enact legislation, and medical regulatory authorities (Colleges) and medical associations time to develop policies and guidelines. On January 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the federal government additional time, until June 6, 2016, to further consider the necessary amendments to the law. During this time, or until new legislation is passed, those who wish to seek physician-assisted dying may apply to the court in their jurisdiction for an exemption from the current law prohibiting physician-assisted dying. Without such an exemption, it remains illegal for anyone, including physicians, to counsel, aid, or abet a person to commit suicide. In my opinion, killing is not health care. Neither is it an acceptable solution to human suffering. I recently had the pleasure of taking part, in organizing a conference called “Life Matters”. This was a full day conference that was held at the Agora Center on April 23rd with presentations on physician assisted suicide, euthanasia and abortion. 75 people attended and it turned out to be an amazing day, filled with informative talks shared by dynamic speakers. Faye Sonier, ED of Canadian Physicians for Life, spoke on physician’s conscience rights followed by her husband Albertos Polizogopoulos, who is a constitutional law and civil litigation lawyer in Ottawa. His presentation focused on the present laws in Canada on these issues. Dr MJ Randlett who is a palliative care physician in Cornwall, spoke about hospice palliative care and the importance of Canada wide access to palliative care resources. Alex Schadenberg, ED for Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, revealed how he feels assisted suicide will create new paths of abuse for elders, people with disabilities and other socially devalued people. He believes the safeguards within Bill C-14 are an illusion. Finally, Angelina Steenstra who is the National Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and myself, the Regional Coordinator of Ontario for the same campaign; spoke about the devastation abortion brings to women, men and families. We also shared the personal testimonies of our abortions.
All of the talks are on YouTube and can be viewed by searching, life matters conference followed by the name of the person whose talk you want to view. To find out what you can do to show your opposition to physician assisted suicide, go to www.4mycanada.ca Life matters from conception to natural death.
Sincerely, Dale Barr