No matter how the story’s spun, killing is not love

By Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director

The headline of the CBC article jumped out at me this morning, bringing with it many memories and a good deal of anger.  I was only 6 when Robert Latimer killed his daughter Tracy, who was 12 years old at the time.  I recall my mother’s fury and the letter-writing campaign she helped organize to inform politicians of the significance of this issue.  When I was a bit older and Latimer was appealing his sentence at the Supreme Court, I joined her efforts.  The leniency shown towards Latimer angered me then, and angers me now.  Yet what concerns me even more is the absence of condemnation of his actions on the part of the general public.

Consider the reaction to the murder of Karissa Boudreau, strangled to death by her own mother Penny.  Public outrage was enormous and the judge who ruled on the case told Penny, “You can never call yourself mother.”

Yet, if you read the comments posted on today’s article with news of Latimer’s full parole, you will see an entirely different reaction: Latimer is welcomed back, called a hero, and even suggested as a Member of Parliament because of his ‘integrity’.  It seems to me that the only thing more horrific than a father killing his daughter and calling it “love” is having the general public sympathize and support that father.

Growing up, I knew a young man with cerebral palsy.  The doctors said he would never walk or communicate.  Well, he proved those doctors wrong.  Life was difficult for his family and for him, yet his value was no less.  And as we grew up with him at school, we were taught that love meant sacrificing a bit of ourselves.  We took turns spending lunch hours with him.  We started learning sign language to better communicate with him.  Eventually the rest of the class moved ahead in grades, we moved into a different wing of the school and eventually to a different school.  But I don’t think we’ll ever forget our time with him, the wide smiles he gave us and the laughter that we shared.  He enriched our lives and made us better people.

I don’t doubt that life was difficult for Tracy and difficult for her parents, who struggled to see her suffer.  But how do we measure and quantify suffering?  Tracy was described as a generally cheerful girl who loved music and visits to the circus.  I’ve known people – with no physical pain – whose suffering was so deep they could not even smile.  Yet their right to life was never questioned.  So why is it that shooting a severely depressed teenage daughter, for example, would outrage the public while gassing Tracy, a cheerful 12 year old with cerebral palsy, is considered compassionate?

Tracy did not have the same capabilities as many of us.  She lived her life differently and was quite vulnerable, vulnerability her father took advantage of.  Her dependence and her simple mental state do not give us, however, any special right to determine her life’s value and whether or not we will care for her or kill her.

The reality is that love involves sacrifice and it means suffering alongside those we love.  And no matter how we spin the story, it never means killing.

For more background, see the Lifesitenews article here.

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New Poll: Canadians worry about vulnerable people if euthanasia is legalized

Life Canada, a national educational organization, has released a new poll of Canadians’ attitudes concerning euthanasia.

Below, their Press Release summarizes their findings.

For Immediate Release

Nov. 3, 2010


Canadians worry about vulnerable people if euthanasia is legalized: Poll

A year of public debate about legal euthanasia has left Canadians with concerns about how vulnerable people—those who are elderly, depressed, disabled or chronically ill—will fare if the law changes.

A new poll by Environics Research of 2,025 Canadians has found that although 59% said they support legal euthanasia, the number who “strongly support” has declined by 3 points since last year. Support is highest in Quebec at 69%, down from 75% a year ago, and lowest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 49%.

However, subsequent questions about the effect on vulnerable populations reveal strong concerns about the practice. Almost two-thirds, 63% worried that elderly Canadians would feel pressure to accept euthanasia to reduce health care costs, up from 57% in 2009. Interestingly, Quebeckers, whose government recently completed public hearings on legal euthanasia, expressed the highest concern, 75%. Canadians also worried about people being euthanized without their consent: 78% expressed concern about this, compared to 70% last year.

The poll also asked about euthanizing terminally ill or severely disabled infants with a parental request and consent. Almost half, 49% opposed euthanasia in such cases while 44% supported it.

71% of those polled said governments should invest more in palliative and hospice care instead of legalizing euthanasia.

The poll was commissioned by LifeCanada and was conducted in September 2010. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.

LifeCanada’s president, Monica Roddis, said that the current debate has been a healthy one. “Canadians have been confused about euthanasia and what it means. The more they learn through debates at the federal level and this fall during the Quebec hearings, the less comfortable they become.

“There have been many doctors and nurses who specialize in end-of-life care who have spoken openly and passionately against legalizing euthanasia,” said Roddis. “They understand the perils that face patients and medical professionals if such legislation were to pass. We applaud their courage in speaking up and in contributing to the education of Canadians on this issue.”

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Contacts: Primary: Monica Roddis, President, 604-853-7985

Secondary: Anastasia Bowles, Projects Director: 1-866-780-5433

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University of Toronto Students for Life: CBC needs new editors

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by Danny Ricci. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

CBC reported earlier in September that MP Francine Lalonde will not be running for re-election due to bone cancer. I pray she fights this disease as she did in the past. However, one part of the article struck me:

Lalonde made a name for herself in politics after introducing a private member’s bill that would allow euthanasia and assisted suicide under strict conditions.
Bill C-384 was defeated 228-59 in a vote earlier this year.
I’m not sure what the CBC’s definition of stricit conditions is, but here are the actual facts about Bill C-384 from Alex Schadenberg:
- The fact is that Bill C-384 would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with mental or physical pain,
- You did not have to be terminally ill and it didn’t define terminal illness.
- It was not limited to Canadian citizens.
- It defined competent as “appearing to be lucid.”
I would say the CBC needs new editors. Or, at the very least, they need to take 5 minutes and do a google search.

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.