Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quebec Euthanasia: Thin Edge of the Wedge

The following letter was written by Alex Schadenberg and published on January 23, 2013 in the Calgary Herald (I did not choose the title for the letter) under the title: Thin Edge of the Wedge.
Re: "Quebec can be a model on assisted suicide law," Naomi Lakritz, Opinion, Jan. 22. 
Naomi Lakritz has written an interesting column concerning the proposal to legalize euthanasia in Quebec. 
There is a difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide, but when reading the Menard report, it is clear that Quebec intends to legalize euthanasia under the term "assisted dying," and that the media have wrongly referred to it as assisted suicide. 
Euthanasia is an intentional act of directly causing death, usually by lethal injection. Euthanasia is defined by the intention of the person doing the act, and not whether the act was with or without explicit request. 
That is why a recent study from Belgium found that 32 per cent of the euthanasia deaths were without explicit request. 
Finally, Quebec is defining the act of "assisted dying" (euthanasia) as medical treatment. This is very concerning since Canada recognizes a right to universal health care. 
Even if the law begins with tight restrictions, logically the courts will extend its practice based on the equality provision of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was an intentional decision by the Quebec government to legalize a limited form of euthanasia that would soon become available to nearly everyone. 
Alex Schadenberg, London, Ont. Alex Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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