EPC legal counsel, Hugh Scher, argued the points of our intervention in the Carter case in Vancouver before Justice Smith on December 14, 2011.
The Carter case, which is being promoted by the BC Civil Liberties Association, is attempting to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada through the court. The case started with the Carter family who were arguing that the law infringed on the rights of their mother, Kay Carter, who died by assisted suicide at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The case later added Gloria Taylor, who is living with ALS.
EPC argued that prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide is necessary to protect all people. We argued that the reasons given by the Supreme Court of Canada, for the Rodriguez decision, are still valid today. We argued that in practice, the concept of choice or autonomy cannot be assured and do not protect people who are dependent on others and we argued that legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide, in any form, will lead to new paths for elder abuse and abuse of vulnerable persons.
The Attorney General of Canada will be making its final submission to Justice Smith on January 13. We have no idea when Justice Smith will release her decision. We hope that she will make the correct decision by refusing to legislate from the bench and therefore not imposing euthanasia and assisted suicide upon Canada.
If Justice Smith refuses to legislate from the Bench and upholds the law, then the BC Civil Liberties Association, who represent the Carter and Taylor plaintiffs, will appeal the case to the BC Court of Appeal. If Justice Smith decides to legislate from the Bench, we will require the Attorney General of Canada to appeal the case to the BC Court of Appeal. In the end this case will be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
You may consider writing a hand-written letter to the AG and to your Member of Parliament. You should ask your MP to urge the AG to do whatever possible to uphold the laws that protect us from euthanasia and assisted suicide. You need to keep your letter simple. Please use the following sample talking points:
As a Canadian, I ask that you do whatever possible to uphold our laws that protect me from Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.
I am concerned that legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide will lead to pressure being placed on people with disabilities. Some deaths may occur without request or consent, as has happened in other jurisdictions.
I am concerned that legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide will lead to new paths for elder abuse which is already a serious social problem in Canada.
Dependent elderly people may die by euthanasia or assisted suicide because of pressure from abusive relationships that they are already experiencing.
Letters would be sent to: Attorney General of Canada
Your MP Hon. Rob Nicholson
House of Commons House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6 Ottawa ON K1A 0A6