The Slippery Slope

Canada’s Parliament will be returning Dec, 3 and one of the first things on the agenda will be the issue of assisted suicide, something that the Supreme Court has said must be addressed soon. Given that, I thought might be appropriate to re-post some of my thoughts on the subject from earlier this year. Who knows, maybe some new parliamentarians will read these posts and think a little deeper as a result.

Those opposing the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling that has opened the door to assisted suicide in Canada are frequently branded as alarmists by proponents of euthanasia. Supposedly there will be controls to ensure that only those who wish to die are allowed to kill themselves.

A new study done in the Province of Quebec however shows that those assurances from politicians and the medical profession may turn out to be rather hollow. Apparently there is a fair amount of confusion after all – and that is within the medical profession, those who are going to be mandated to end others’ lives.

About a third of Quebec doctors and nurses surveyed believe that they would be expected and allowed to end a patient’s life if the family requested it, but the patient had not. That is not what the Court said should be the case. However it is what critics of euthanasia have been suggesting would be the reality. After all, the elderly can be such a burden, and if they were dead we could inherit that much sooner – why not speed their departure?

The Court has told Parliament it must introduce legislation allowing assisted suicide, that to fail to do so would be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m sure the justices of the Court are well-meaning men and women, genuinely concerned with the plight of those who are terminally ill, in pain, who wish to end their lives but are physically unable to do so. It seems so humane to allow them assistance in their desire to end their live

Those opposing the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling that has opened the door to assisted suicide in Canada are frequently branded as alarmists by proponents of euthanasia. Supposedly there will be controls to ensure that only those who wish to die are allowed to kill themselves.

A new study done in the Province of Quebec however shows that those assurances from politicians and the medical profession may turn out to be rather hollow. Apparently there is a fair amount of confusion after all – and that is within the medical profession, those who are going to be mandated to end others’ lives.

About a third of Quebec doctors and nurses surveyed believe that they would be expected and allowed to end a patient’s life if the family requested it, but the patient had not. That is not what the Court said should be the case. However it is what critics of euthanasia have been suggesting would be the reality. After all, the elderly can be such a burden, and if they were dead we could inherit that much sooner – why not speed their departure?

The Court has told Parliament it must introduce legislation allowing assisted suicide, that to fail to do so would be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m sure the justices of the Court are well-meaning men and women, genuinely concerned with the plight of those who are terminally ill, in pain, who wish to end their lives but are physically unable to do so. It seems so humane to allow them assistance in their desire to end their lives.

Sadly though, I think those same judges have lost touch with the reality of human nature. If killing patients becomes an option, for whatever supposedly good reason, how long will it be before that reason becomes more flexible than rigid? What about those with no family who are a drain on hospital resources? Would it not be in the best interests of society (financially anyway) to end their lives? How are we going to prevent families from pressuring their aged ones, urging them to request death so that the next generation of the family will be financially better off? There are so many issues still unresolved – and this latest report certainly is not encouraging for those who feel that life has value.

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