Sometimes the media gets it right and other times, like the Fonteece case, where I just need to scratch my head and wonder. The media called me for quotes on the Fonteece case appearing to be creating an issue rather than reporting.
What is known about the Fonteece case?
We know that Peter and Yanisa Fonteece were unemployed and traveling west with the hope of finding employment in British Columbia.
We know that their car broke down in Thunder Bay and they stayed at the Super 8 Motel for 4 days.
We know that Mr. Fonteece called 911 in the early morning of February 6. Emergency services arrived and found Mrs Fonteece dead. Paramedics did not attempt to resuscitate her because she had been dead for awhile.
The police gathered information questioned Mr Fonteece and charged him with criminal negligence causing death and assisted suicide.
The Kitchener/Waterloo Record reported that the Fonteeces moved out of a low-rise apartment building on January 31 after living their for more than 1 year. The building superintendant sated that ‘they had given two months’ notice and seemed healthy as they packed up.’
The UPI International reported that the autopsy found ‘There was no immediate indication Yanisa Fonteece suffered from any sort of disease.’ Results from the toxicology tests could take several weeks.
The National Post quoted Martin Frith from Dying With Dignity, a group that is dedicated to legalizing assisted suicide, as saying: “It’s really problematic that in the absence of a law that would actually allow for assisted dying we have situations where well intentioned family members who are supporting a mature, competent adult runs the risk of being charged with assisted suicide.”
The Toronto Sun quoted EPC’s Alex Schadenberg as saying: “It’s understandable in the current “economic downturn” that people would become desperate.”
The National Post quoted Alex Schadenberg as saying: “the law is there to protect vulnerable people. “Nobody should be allowed to directly and intentionally take another persons life, That is a line we should never cross.”
Wesley Smith commented on his blog: “Let’s assume...that Yanisa was just sick of living because of hard times and asked her husband to help her die: If it would be okay for him to do the deed ... After all, isn’t the “right to die” about a purported sacrosanct liberty to determine the time, manner, and place of one’s own death? Once that principle is accepted, the details become minutia, because one person’s bearable difficulty is another’s unbearable suffering.
It is difficult to make a comment on the Fonteece case, until further information is released. Nonetheless it is clear that this is not a typical assisted suicide case and it is more likely that Yanisa Fonteece lost hope in difficult economic times.