The Canadian Supreme Court is about to delivery its decision on
euthanasia and assisted suicide. I published on this blog a letter I wrote to the Chief Justice. A few weeks later I sent a second expanding on my plea not to strike down the nation's laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia. The text of that second letter is below.
There was no reply. I am informed the esteemed Chief Justice does not condescend to read letters from ordinary people.
I may be one of the ignorant and dusty unwashed masses but I still care deeply about the future of my nation. I can not simply sit back when a major shift may occur to the social, legal, and medical landscape of Canada that sanctions the killing of vulnerable Canadians.
The text of my second letter of last November is below. -- Mark
Dear Chief Justice McLachlin:
RE: ASSISTED SUICIDE
I wrote to you
last month appealing to Canada’s high court not to strike down Canada’s law on
assisted suicide. A copy of that letter is attached. Please ensure the other
Justices adjudicating the case of Kay Carter and the wider issue on Canada’s
law against assisted suicide receive copies of that letter for consideration.
assisted suicide lobbyists say Canada’s laws against assisted suicide are
discriminatory against the incurably sick and disabled because they are denied the
ability to commit suicide that able-bodied Canadians can do. That argument is
deeply flawed. Just because someone can commit suicide does not mean they have
a right to do it. There is no “right” to suicide in Canada. If there was a
right to suicide, why would Canada’s Parliament UNANIMOUSLY support the idea of
a National Suicide Prevention Strategy as they did in October 2012?
If the Supreme
Court strikes down Canada’s law against assisted suicide or expresses support
for assisted suicide for incurably ill and severely disabled Canadians (like
me) what sort of message will that send to us? Parliament gives full support to
suicide prevention for the healthy and able-bodied while the Supreme Court
supports assisting the suicides of the sick and disabled? That is the message I
will hear loud and clear. Public policies and laws do not exist in isolation;
they must have continuity and consistency.
Right to die
proponents bolster their argument for assisted suicide by citing Section 7,
Legal Rights, of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “Everyone has the
right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be
deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental
justice.” The very section they cite for security
of the person undermines their argument about a “right to die”. Section 7 begins
by affirming and declaring the right to
life: It says nothing about a right to death!
As I mentioned in my last letter, pain
management of the 21 Century is so advanced that people need not suffer and die
in pain (see quote by palliative care specialist Dr. John Scott).
assisted suicide say people should be able to decide the time and place of
their own death. If that is true then the ‘right’ of autonomous
self-determination applies equally to suicidal healthy and able-bodied people as
to the sick and disabled. There is no place for a National Suicide Prevention
strategy or suicide prevention programs because they impose on the “right to
choose the time and place of one’s own death.” The suicidal able-bodied and
physically healthy person can say their emotional pain is as bad (or worse) than
my physical pain and who are we to say it’s not. They could be right.
They could ask for help killing themselves in fear they might botch their
suicide, putting them in a worse position, and jeopardize their twisted interpretation
of “security of the person.
In order for society
to recognize one person’s perceived 'security
of the person' the greater community’s proper sense of interdependence will
suffer. This must not be, Madam Chief Justice. The Common Good must prevail.
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