Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Council of Canadians with Disabilities: Help To Live Not Die

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) were granted joint intervenor standing by the BC Court of Appeal, yesterday, in the Carter case

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and EPC-BC were also granted intervenor standing, by the BC Court of Appeal in the Carter case, that will be heard by the BC Court of Appeal from March 4 - 8, 2013. 

On June 15, 2012, Justice Lynn Smith decided, in the Carter case, that the law protecting Canadians from assisted suicide was unconstitutional because it deprived some people with disabilities equal access to suicide. Justice Smith also ordered parliament to legalize a limited form of euthanasia and she gave Gloria Taylor, one of the plaintiffs, a constitutional exemption to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

Gloria Taylor died from natural causes on October 5, 2012.

On July 13, 2012, the Hon Rob Nicholson, Attorney General of Canada, appealed the decision by Justice Smith, in the Carter case, to the BC Court of Appeal. It is expected that the Carter case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada.

To raise money for the legal costs to intervene at the BC Court of Appeal, CCD has established a website entitled: Help To Live Not Die. The Help To Live Not Die website explains the position of CCD on assisted suicide and encourages people to donate money for the legal costs for their intervention at the BC Court of Appeal in the Carter Case.

CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada. CCD is the leading national organization of people with disabilities in Canada.

CCD/CACL oppose assisted suicide and have been granted the right to make the following arguments before the BC Court of Appeal in the Carter case:
1. they will provide insight into the interpretation of "death with dignity" in the disabled community;2. the impugned provisions are consistent with discouraging people from choosing death over life, while the trial judgement makes death more palatable for people with disabilities, a result incompatible with the values underlying (s. 7) and (s. 15);3. decisions allowing physician-assisted suicide of persons with disabilities is based on and fosters stereotypical thinking that is inherently discriminatory, and deepens the disadvantages and inequalities suffered by people with disabilities;4. financial and social conditions place increased stress on those who provide support to the disabled, creating greater potential for abuse. The autonomy of vulnerable people cannot be separated from the perilous and dependent circumstances in which they live, and the choices that flow from this;5. No reliable half-way measure exists for achieving the purposes of the impugned provisions. The trial judge erred in failing to properly consider and balance competing interests in her (s. 7) and (s. 1) analysis; and6. the Charter value of life underlies the impugned provisions and the exemption for the disabled created by the trial judgment cannot be justified.
In granting intervenor standing to CCD/CACL Madam Justice Neilson recognized that some of the arguments are already being made by the Attorney General of Canada, but she stated:
"I am persuaded an important distinction lies in the fact these applicants present these arguments from the point of view of the disabled community, a segment of society that will be profoundly affected by the outcome of the appeal and whose perspective should be before the court."
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) requires your financial support to enable us to intervene in the appeal of the Carter case. Donations to EPC can be made online here

We also encourage people to support the fundraising efforts of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) that is presented on the Help To Live Not Die website. EPC is very pleased that the CCD/CACL were granted intervenor standing in the appeal of the decision by Justice Smith in the Carter case.

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