Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Calgary Herald: We must all stand against the push for euthanasia

The following Calgary Herald editorial was published in the January 22 edition of the paper under the title: Editorial: We must all stand against the push for Euthanasia.

Editorial: We must all stand against the push for Euthanasia
Calgary Herald - January 22, 2012

Many of Quebec’s politicians seem incapable of taking no for an answer. After losing two votes on separation, the current Quebec provincial government says it will wait for the right timing and “winning conditions” to hold yet another referendum on sovereignty.

Similarly, this minority Parti Quebecois government has vowed to make euthanasia — or doctor assisted suicide — legal in la belle province, in contravention of Canada’s Criminal Code. Premier Pauline Marois says the province will bypass the federal law of the land by declaring assisted suicide a medical procedure, something that falls under provincial jurisdiction.

This comes after former Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde’s private member’s bill on this issue was resoundingly defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 228-59 in April 2010. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected legalizing euthanasia in 1993 in its Sue Rodriguez decision and the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide released a 72-page report called, Of Life and Death, in June 1995 that recommended that voluntary euthanasia remain a criminal offence.

Quebec politicians, however, are intent to not take no for an answer — democracy be damned and the law as well.

As Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, points out, the PQ government is looking for a loophole by defining euthanasia as a form of health care, a tactic that mirrors Belgian law.

Let’s consider what has happened recently in Belgium. Identical twin brothers, Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45, who were born deaf, were euthanized by a doctor in Antwerp on Dec. 14 after learning that they were gradually going blind.

Neither man was in any pain and they were not facing a painful death or terminal illness. They simply couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to see one another — a daunting thought to be sure. All reasonable people can understand their anguish.

But this is the slippery slope of all of these laws. They start out with strict parameters and end up being widened.

Within days of the twins’ killing, Belgium’s ruling Socialists proposed a legal amendment that would allow the state’s doctors to kill children and Alzheimer’s sufferers.

In other words, they will be changing the current rule that requires consent by the person getting killed. Children and people suffering from Alzheimer’s are not legally able to give consent, for obvious reasons. But this is precisely the kind of diabolical changes that have occurred in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been practised for decades now, with thousands of examples of people who never provided consent being killed involuntarily by their physicians.

“It should concern people that Quebec has chosen to mirror the Belgium euthanasia law,” says Schadenberg. “Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 and research has found significant abuse primarily related to the imprecise and wide-open definitions that the Belgium law uses,” says Schadenberg, who points to three disturbing studies taken in the Flanders region of Belgium.

The studies found in part that:
* 32 per cent of all euthanasia deaths were done without explicit request;
* 47 per cent of all euthanasia deaths were not reported as euthanasia and,
* nurses are euthanizing their patients, even though the Belgium law limits the act of euthanasia to doctors.

“It is important to note, that even though independent studies have found significant abuses of the Belgium euthanasia law are occurring, not one doctor has been prosecuted in Belgium.”

To be clear, euthanasia is the active ending of a human life, ordinarily through lethal injection. It is NOT the removal of life supports on those who are already brain-dead. The latter is simply allowing nature to take its course. That is not what Schadenberg or Canadian law opposes.

Canadians must vehemently oppose these never-ending pushes by Quebec separatists to not just break up this country, but to destroy a tenet of our law that ensures that human life is afforded the weight and importance that it always must.

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