Kelly interviewed me in response to the upcoming screening of the Euthanasia Deception documentary in Sault Ste Marie on November 17.
How Canada's new euthanasia law will evolve worries Alex Schadenberg.
“We really ignored the direct experience of people with euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands,” Schadenberg said of the assisted suicide debate in Canada. Bill C-14 became law in June. “The same experiences in Belgium could very well happen here.”He speaks Thursday at 7 p.m. at Quattro Suites and Conference Centre's Great Lakes Room. Schadenberg will screen a documentary, The Euthanasia Deception, released by his London, ON-based group in September. The 52-minute film has been screened in more than 100 communities.
Bill C-14 allows Canadians, who are at least 18, to receive medical assistance to die if they have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition.”
Schadenberg says the legislation's wording is “very loose” arguing a waiting period can be waived by a doctor. He also questions the bill's requirement that natural death be “reasonably foreseeable.”
“How do you define reasonably foreseeable?” said Schadenberg. “In my interpretation you really can't define reasonably foreseeable.”A third concern centres on Bill C-14 being understood “the way the doctor wants to interpret it.”
“If I only have to be of the opinion that (the assisted death) meets the criteria of the law then anything I do is fair game because you could never say I did something wrong,” said Schadenberg. “You could say that maybe my opinion was mistaken, but you can't say that I wasn't of the opinion. The law itself uncuts any safeguard that might (be in the law).”Euthanasia Prevention Coalition offers counselling to protect people “in vulnerable circumstances.”
“It's a crazy thing when you give somebody the power over life and death that some people will abuse it,” said Schadenberg. “That's what we've seen in both the Netherlands and Belgium, more so in Belgium.”In September, a Catholic hospital in Vancouver refused the assisted suicide request of a former accountant who suffered from several health concerns including severe spinal stenosis, kidney failure and heart disease. The Catholic Church is opposed to euthanasia. Ian Sherer was transported to another hospital.
Schadenberg opposes the possibility of doctors and nurse practitioners being forced to help a person to die.
“Doctors have, and should be, recognized to have conscience rights especially since it's in our Charter (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms),” he said. “Why should that be taken away from a person who happens to work as a physician in a health care institution? Why would you force someone to do something that they consider absolutely wrong? It's one thing that it's done. It's a whole other thing to force someone to participate.”