Written by Ashley Bulthuis (Summer Intern 2015)
I recently heard Dr. Will Johnston’s speak at the March for Life in Victoria. His speech was profound. It was foreboding. It was a foretelling of what will come if the federal government rushes into enacting a law on assisted suicide that does not ensure the lives of all Canadians are valued and protected.
Dr. Will Johnston is the chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of British Columbia. During the rally he highlighted the need to place our focus on life-saving health care, stating “supplying real healthcare means supplying therapy. Therapy improves function, therapy does not intentionally create a corpse.” Our future doctors are at risk of playing the double role of health care provider and grim reaper if laws are not made to protect Canadians from physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. What a chilling prospect Canadians may face! As a millennial, I cannot help but wonder what this means for my generation.
The outcome of this decision impacts more than just our grandparents’ generation. Each of us will have to face the reality of death at some point, whether it be for a close family member, friend, or ourselves. If assisted suicide becomes permissible in Canada, it will open access to legalized killing in our country, providing a lethal alternative to the rightful dignity of a natural death. By legalizing this we fail to realize that our generation is sealing the lid to our own tomb.
Is this honestly what we want to aspire to?
To put the frenzied state of our current situation in perspective, consider the following insight from Dr. Johnston: “Parliament is warned to make the law stringent and rigorous, supposedly excluding some people from a new right for which their own subjective preferences are the only qualification. If you were a guest at this Mad Hatter’s Tea Party your best question would be who could you say ‘no’ to?” Having stringent regulations ultimately will not prevent innocent lives from being taken in the end, as there will be continued pressure to widen the regulations to include more people.
But we can do our part to prevent this madness from continuing. I encourage you to take part in Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s Give Us Time campaign, which has sent out 80, 000 postcards asking politicians to hold a Royal Commission on assisted suicide, and invoke the Notwithstanding Clause so Parliament can draft effective assisted suicide legislation. Parliament currently has less than one year to draft legislation, but more than a year is needed to make such a massive decision. This is especially important in light of the upcoming federal election this fall, which will draw attention away from the Assisted Suicide debate. You can visit the campaign site to download the postcard, and encourage others to do the same!
Life is precious, let’s join together to protect it!