Neither capital punishment nor euthanasia

We do not have the death penalty in Canada, partly because there is an unacceptable risk that innocent people could be killed. We should not legalize euthanasia because the risk of people dying for no reason is equally unacceptable.

A man has just been released after spending 30 years on death row in Louisiana. He always claimed he was innocent of the crime, and the prosecutor has finally admitted that there was inescapable evidence that this man was indeed innocent. He was lucky not to have been one of the many innocent people who have been executed.

Jeanette Hall was also lucky. She was diagnosed with cancer, and was given six months to live in 2000. She decided to use assisted suicide (legal in Oregon). Yet she is still alive. Her doctor convinced her to undergo treatment instead of killing herself. If her doctor had supported assisted suicide , Ms. Hall would no longer be with us, yet she is happy to be alive.

The death penalty is quite different from euthanasia or assisted suicide. Those sentenced to death are not asking for death, while in theory only those who ask for it are killed by euthanasia. But theory is very different from reality. Indeed, several Belgian prisoners requested euthanasia rather than serving their life sentence. One of them has already received death. This is far from requesting euthanasia because someone is at "end of life". Also in Belgium, there were several people who have been euthanized without their consent.

There is always a risk of misdiagnosis. There are often opportunities for treatment. There is the possibility of relieving pain, and in the rare cases where that is not possible, there is access to palliative sedation. There are too many factors that make euthanasia, assisted suicide, or "medical aid in dying" a serious danger, especially for vulnerable people. The potential for abuse is too great to legalize it.