Below is the text of an email I sent tonight to Dan Williams, Alberta MLA who sponsored Bill 207, as a legislative committee is studying the bill in Edmonton
To Dan Williams, MLA for Peace River
CC. The Hon. Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, Brad Rutherford, MLA for Leduc-Beaumont
Mr. Williams: Thank you for calling me the other night. As I stated, I am happy to appear before the legislative committee examining Bill 207, CONSCIENCE RIGHTS (HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS) PROTECTION ACT. As you noticed, and commented, I am blunt with my language. After more than 30 years appearing before federal, provincial and state (US) legislative committees studying assisted suicide bills, I am no longer prepared to play word games with euphemisms designed to make evil appear good. I am an old man and don’t have time or patience for dishonesty and deceit perpetuated by euphemisms used by special agendas of left leaning secularists who do not ascribe to the sanctity of human life.
Medical Assistance In Dying is palliative care—not lethal injections. That’s what we have in Canada. We do not have physician assisted death or medically assisted death, we have medical killing. We do not have death with dignity, we have euthanasia. Death with dignity comes from having lived with dignity, it is not bestowed by lethal injection, poison or starvation and dehydration. Abortion is not just the termination of pregnancy, it is the killing of an unborn child. People who say they support the right choose don’t finish the sentence. Why? Because to finish the sentence with any modicum of honesty would require them to say what they really support: The right of a woman to choose to kill her unborn child.
Issues of access are red herrings and the NDP know it. If I were to appear before the committee I would tell them that. Many Christian and Muslim doctors consciences and religions prohibit them from killing. To require them to refer patients to doctors who will euthanize them makes them accomplices to the killings. That is also untenable and a deep and serious violation of their religions and they believe may damn them in the after-life. It is wrong to force them to refer suicidal patients, who meet the criteria under federal legislation. Bill 207 seeks to address this. Physicians may not be required to refer patients for assisted suicide now but there’s nothing to stop the Alberta Medical Association from passing a policy in future that does make them do it, such as the Ontario Medical Association did. Bill 207 would simply codify into law the assurance that Christian and Muslim doctors will not be faced with that possibility in the future. It provides them with the security that they can continue to practice medicine that heals and never kills. Peace of mind.
Christian and Muslim doctors who want no part of medical killing are the minority who need their conscience rights protected. There are plenty of physicians who are prepared to kill or refer patients to killer doctors. Physicians whose consciences or religion prohibits them from killing patients must be allowed to opt out COMPLETELY from the process and that includes being forced to refer patients for euthanasia now or some future date. This can often be accommodated and accomplished through simple approaches such as signage in doctors’ offices identifying a doctor who has opted out of the “Medically Assisted Death or referral” process, so patients can find another doctor who will, if that’s something they may want.
The LGBTQ issue is another issue completely in a different category. Why? Gender reassignment surgery is never done by a physician to kill the patient, MAID is always intended to kill the patient. From the perspective of a Christian physician, only the second involves murder and has eternal consequences that may jeopardize their very soul. Regardless of whether politicians believe that to be true, the physician (or nurse) does, and that must be respected. Section two of the Canadian Charter states under the heading of Fundamental Freedoms:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Bill 207 seeks to ensure that physicians are not compelled to refer patients for abortion or euthanasia. It rightly presumes that “expression” includes actions and behaviour and not just verbal expression. Bill 207 simply gives Christian and Muslim doctors peace of mind that they will not be compelled to refer patients for MAID (euthanasia) in future by a changed policy of the Alberta Medical Association, The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons or any other regulatory body.
As an Albertan with a serious, degenerative disease of multiple sclerosis, I want to be able to choose my physician who does not ascribe to, or support euthanasia. For your information, I have attached a copy of a letter I gave to my physician prior to Canada enacting its Medical Assistance In Dying legislation in 2016. The name of the physician has been removed so not to identify him/her.
Feel free to share this email and attachment with the committee examining bill 207.
Mark Davis Pickup
4417-51 Street, Beaumont, AB, Canada, T4X 1C8
I can hardly bring myself to write these words but a dark reality in Canada requires it. I am referring to legalizing physician assisted suicide scheduled to begin in 2016. For over 20 years I have feared that a time such as this would come to my country and the common good of society at large. I have spoken across Canada and America against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Should I ever request assisted suicide, I want you to refuse to help me. On this point I am emphatic. Presume that I am speaking out of depression or that multiple sclerosis has begun to affect my mental state. I would not make such a request in my right mind. If, in your judgment, I am suffering from depression please get me the counselling I need. If the MS is affecting my mind, protect me from myself or others who would take my life before my natural death. Regarding my end of life care I ask you to provide treatment in accordance with my Roman Catholic faith (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos 2276-2282).
I have such deep respect for you and the proper application of your profession (in its Hippocratic tradition) I would not ask you to stop being my healer and become my killer, unless my mental faculties were impaired by depression or disease.