“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, February 2, 2015

ASSISTED SUICIDE & EUTHANASIA IN CANADA: IN THE EVENT OF A BAD SUPREME COURT DECISION


Canada's Supreme Court
On Friday February 6th 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision  pertaining to Canada's laws opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide. I am not hopeful. And so this evening I wrote to the Premier of my province of Alberta with suggestions to minimize the negative impact of a bad decision by the high court. [1] See below. 

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Text from email to: The Honourable Jim Prentice, Premier of Alberta

Dear Premier Prentice – I understand that on Friday February 6th 2015, Canada’s Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision in the Carter Case concerning Canadian laws that protects people from assisted suicide and euthanasia. As an incurably ill and disabled Canadian and Albertan, I fear they may strike down sections of the federal Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia.  If this happens, federal and provincial governments will be faced with a quandary:

In October 2012 the Canadian Parliament gave UNANIMOUS support to the idea of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy. Healthy and able-bodied suicidal Canadians should receive suicide prevention while incurably ill and severely disabled suicidal Canadians should get help killing themselves? People like me will get a clear message that our lives are worth less than the healthy population – so much less that the highest court of the nation sanctions killing us.

In the event that the Supreme Court decision is as I fear, it will be inappropriate for provincial governments to wash their hands of the issue under the pretext that it is a federal matter. The actual killing of people will occur in the provinces. I want Alberta’s government to publicly and unequivocally express its disapproval and disappointment with the Supreme Court decision. Respond in a number of life-affirming ways that do not directly contradict the high court yet do not contradict the higher ancient ideal of the sanctity of human life. This would include:

1. Strengthening support for the establishment and expansion of suicide prevention counselling – with specific intention to include individuals and families facing terminal or chronic illnesses or degenerative diseases.
2. Approach a number of community based social services agencies, mental health agencies, faith communities, and humanitarian organizations (Lions, Rotary, Knights of Columbus, etc.) to partner with the province to sponsor/deliver counselling or support services such as respite or hospice services.
3. Establish an Internet website for physicians and health care providers to consult when dealing with patients in difficult pain management situations. Provide consultation stipends for pain-management specialists to advise in such cases. Make the service well known in medical circles.
4. Have the Ministry of advanced education meet with university medical faculties and provincial nursing programs to expand training in palliative medicine and up-to-date pain management techniques.
5. Institute a province-wide media campaign informing Albertans of palliative care options for their times of need that make euthanasia and assisted suicide unnecessary, and counselling services available for incurably ill and disabled Albertans contemplating suicide.
6. Despite massive shortfalls expected in oil revenues, stand firm in maintaining (and expanding) home care services. It is less expensive to deliver home-care than institutional care. (It’s also easy to govern and implement policies in good times; the real test of leadership mettle comes in the hard and lean times.)
7. Lastly, but certainly not least, establish a task force comprised of an end of life medical specialist who has particular expertise in up-to-date pain management, a palliative care nurse, psychologist, community social services representative (Catholic Social Services?), government officials from the pertinent departments and someone from the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. This task force would hold a series of town hall meeting across the province to answer end-of-life or disability concerns and inform Albertans about services available to address their issues. ...

Respectfully,
Mark Pickup

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[1] A provincial premier is similar to a state governor.

1 comment:

Paul Schratz said...

Thank you, Mark. I'll be sharing this with my premier.