Recent months have witnessed several sad and disappointing events for sick people in Canada. In Quebec it is now legal for a doctor to kill a patient who feels that he or she is suffering unbearably. We are aware of several deaths of patients under this law, including at least one who had a neurological disease and was not at the end of life as the law requires.
Last week, as you read in our mailing on Friday (>>) the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying produced a scandalous report, full of recommendations to ensure access to death rather than to protect the living. There has been an outcry against the report from many quarters, and we hope that the Government will recognize it for what it is: a hard-core death manifesto.
Whatever comes of the report, in the present context it seems inevitable to us that euthanasia and/or assisted suicide will soon be legal in some form in all of Canada.
We will always continue to speak out against this great injustice: to introduce homicide into health care will destroy it and will put many people at risk.
However we also see the need, at this juncture, to seek ways of protecting as much as possible all citizens in this forthcoming new context. Since we cannot stop the law from being adopted, we must attempt to influence it so as to diminish the harm it will cause, by ensuring certain restrictions are included in the law itself.
Distasteful as it is to contribute in any way to such an awful law, we consider it preferable to allowing the death advocates to design it in their image.
It is in this spirit that we responded to a request we received last week to support an initiative called the Vulnerable Persons Standard (>>). The purpose of this project is to bring together all Canadians who have at heart the protection of the most vulnerable among us by proposing the minimal requirements that should be included in any law allowing euthanasia or assisted suicide, in order to protect vulnerable persons.
We agreed to support the Standard on the condition that it be clear to all that our support does not diminish in any way our opposition to homicidal acts such as euthanasia and assisted suicide.
There is a statement to that effect on the Standard website: “Although some of these individuals have ethical and moral objections to euthanasia and assisted suicide, they support the Standard in order to limit the harms and risks that these practices present, especially to vulnerable people” (>>).
The Standard was launched today, March 1, 2016, and is supported by many well known individuals in favor of life, such as Dr. Balfour Mount (founder of Palliative Care in North America), Mr. Jean Vanier, Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, Dr. Margaret Cottle, Pr. Margaret Somerville and Pr. Catherine Frazee.
It is also endorsed by 30 organizations, such as the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, L'Arche Canada, the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia, the Canadian Association for Community Living, the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, and the Christian Legal Fellowship.
We invite you to visit the website (vps-npv.ca), and to make it known to those around you – see section “Share the Standard” in the Main Page. We also encourage you to read Jean Vanier’s impressive letter in today’s Globe and Mail: read article here >>
We will always continue to work for the protection of all citizens and, to this end, we urge our Government to create a law respectful of the right to life of all Canadians.Share