Canadian Disaster: The Biggest Under-Reported Story in US Media — Euthanasia Enters Canada

This February [2015], The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the Canadian law that makes it illegal for anyone to help people end their own lives should be amended to allow doctors to help in specific situations. The court gave federal and provincial governments 12 months to craft legislation to respond to the ruling. Until then; the ban on doctor-assisted suicide stands. If the government doesn’t write a new law, the court’s exemption for physicians will stand. Against this ghastly situation, however, there are welcome voices of opposition. In a September article in the Canadian press titled “Quebec’s split over euthanasia a warning for Canada”, reporter Allan Woods writes: But with time running out before Dec. 10 — the date that patients can begin requesting the procedure — hospitals and health-care providers are scrambling to draw up policies and find the staff who will carry out those patients’ wishes. If that wasn’t tough enough, some of those who might be expected to lead the change — palliative care physicians and hospice administrators — have let it be known that they are instead digging trenches for the battle. “The vocation of a palliative care hospice is to provide care, and that doesn’t include medical aid in dying,” said Élise Rheault, director of Maison Albatros Trois-Rivières. Mr. Woods goes on to write that: Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, a doctor himself, says the refusal by the province’s hospices to provide the procedure amounts to “administrative fundamentalism” and he accused palliative care doctors — who have a right under the law to conscientious objection — of acting like hospital owners rather...

Canadian Supreme Court Declares Both Euthanasia & Prescribed Suicide Legal

In a unanimous decision that essentially usurps the power of the Federal Parliament to make or change laws, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the country’s longstanding ban on assisted suicide and overturned its own 22-year-old ruling declaring the ban constitutional. According to the Supreme Court justices, the Canadian Criminal Code’s assisted-suicide prohibitions “unjustifiably infringe” on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms “and are of no force or effect to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has 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.” [Carter v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5, Case No. 35591, at 147, 2/6/15] By so ruling, the justices legalized both assisted suicide (where the patient commits the last act of self-administrating the lethal drugs) and euthanasia (where the doctor or another person commits the last act (e.g., giving a lethal injection). Moreover, the Court chose not to limit this new legal type of death to patients who are terminally ill or those experiencing physical pain or suffering. Now existential or psychological suffering also qualifies a patient for death. The Court suspended its ruling for twelve months to allow the Federal Parliament and provincial legislatures to enact “legislation consistent with the constitutional parameters set out” in the decision. [Carter, at 126] If the Federal Government opts not to pass such legislation—or more likely runs out of time due to a mid-October federal election and the...