REALity Volume XXXV Issue No. 4 April 2016
A dark cloud has descended on Canada. This cloud was not brought about by the consent of Canadians or Parliament. Rather, the nine judges on the Supreme Court of Canada, representing no one but themselves, have brought death and destruction by way of its decision to support legalized assisted suicide. The court’s decision has entirely changed the fabric of Canadian society, altering our health care system, the role of physicians, the conscience rights of faith based institutions and individuals, as well as the loss of dignity for and the protection of vulnerable human life.
On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court, ignoring both law and precedent, arbitrarily decided, based only on the limited facts of a single case (Carter vs. Canada) to impose assisted suicide on Canadians. This was abuse of power by the court, because it was determining public policy, disregarding the decision of six previous Parliaments, which had solidly rejected such a policy. The court’s judgment, unfortunately, was superficial, seemingly based more on current politically correct thought, rather than on considered reflection and in-depth analysis. The court concluded that assisted suicide was justifiable, focussing on a patient’s autonomy, naively believing that a “carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards established by Parliament” could satisfactorily carry out this policy.
The court provided no definitions. It stated only that there be “a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition”. The scope of this was far from clear.
The Supreme Court of Canada also made the blanket statement that “Nothing in this declaration would compel physicians to provide assistance in dying.” This latter point was quickly proven wrong. The Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario have declared that any physician who, for conscience or religious reasons, may not wish to participate in assisted suicide, must “refer” a patient to another physician to carry out this procedure. This is contrary to the doctors’ Charter right of freedom of conscience and religion. It is also a serious incursion into the professional standing of the physician. The requirement to refer a patient for assisted suicide to which the physician objects, on the grounds of conscience and religion, compels the physician to violate his or her conscience by being forced to be a participant in the very act to which he or she objects in the first place.
The tragedy is that the Supreme Court of Canada has adopted an extreme liberal position on the sanctity of human life, leaving Parliament merely to fill in the details by June 6, 2016. If Parliament does not come up with any regulations or controls on this devastation of the sanctity of human life by that date, then there will be no controls whatever on killing people at random, supposedly for their own good.
Consequently, the Liberal government established a Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons to make regulations on this issue.
In just nine days, from January 18th to February 4th, this committee heard approximately 62 witnesses and received approximately 132 briefs. It is significant that pro-life groups, such as the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), REAL Women of Canada (RWC), Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) were refused an opportunity to appear before the committee, although, all these groups did submit briefs to the committee. On the other hand, the committee asked the pro-euthanasia organization, Dying With Dignity (DWD), to appear before it no less than three times. Consequently, we knew ahead of time the mind-set of this 16 member, Liberal dominated committee. There were only four known pro-life members on it.
Parliamentary Committee Submits its Recommendations – February 25, 2016
The dark cloud of assisted suicide became even darker when the Parliamentary Committee tabled its recommendations in the House of Commons on February 25th, 2016.
One wonders why the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying ever bothered meeting. It could have just declared that assisted suicide was open to everyone, anywhere, with no holds barred. The committee cast its net as wide as possible to ensure that no one would be denied the opportunity to have his/her life promptly terminated on request. The Committee recommended there be no waiting period, prior review, or approval process.
The Supreme Court of Canada in Carter vs Canada had stated that “a permissive regime