Sunday, November 1, 2015

A disabled man's plea to Canada's new Prime Minister about Assisted Suicide.

This letter was written by Mark Pickup and published on his blog on October 31, 2015

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
OTTAWA, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister:

Supreme Court ruling for assisted suicide
Mark Pickup

I am writing to plead with you to invoke the notwithstanding clause of  the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms and override the monstrous Supreme Court decision to strike down the nation’s law against assisted suicide. It will be consistent with your previous support for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy that received unanimous support of Parliament in October of 2012. The high court’s odious decision threatens to set back advances in disability inclusion forty years that I and others have fought hard to gain.

I have been incurably ill with aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than thirty years. Its degenerative nature gradually stripped me of physical function from being healthy and athletic to living in an electric wheelchair. If assisted suicide had been available during the mid-1980s I might have opted for it at a low point. I’m so glad I did not seek out a Jack Kevorkian. I never would have known my grandchildren. You see, Prime Minister, quality of life changes. What gave my life quality in 1984 is not what gives my life quality in 2015. Physical function is not so important to me anymore; it is love that brings quality to my life now: To love and be loved. 

You did the right thing in 2012 by supporting a national suicide prevention strategy. Do the right thing again and invoke the notwithstanding clause, even though it will be unpopular. A national suicide prevention strategy must be for all Canadians, not just the healthy. Support increased emphasis on palliative medicine in medical schools and nursing programs across the country.

Thank you for reading and considering my letter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

I am, Sir,

Yours very truly,
Mark Davis Pickup


Tony Burns said...

There is no indication that any proposal for PAD would allow someone with years ahead of them, as you were in the 80s, be eligible for PAD. If there was I would be the first to be on your side to ensure safeguards are in place. What you seem to believe is a strawman and on that basis you claim the right to deny me the right to choose to end my life when the future holds only weeks or days of insufferable pain, indignity and suffering for my family and friends. How dare you!?

Unknown said...

Dear Henry Ford,

If cars hadn't been invented, I never would have gotten into that accident years ago.

Please stop making these crazy horseless carriages, even though millions of people want to be able to make a PERSONAL CHOICE to use them.

No, I don't want you to allow other people to make their own choice. My choice is most important, and I want to impose that on everyone else.


Alex Schadenberg said...

Both Glen has missed the point and Tony is wrong.

Tony says that there is not indication that any proposal for PAD would allow someone with years ahead of them to be eligible for PAD. Tony has not read the Supreme Court decision which says nothing about have a terminal condition and says that it would be allowed for disabling conditions. Tony, sorry your wrong.

Glen compares it to the choice of driving a car which may result in accidents. We are not talking about an act that may cause death, we are talking about an act that does cause death. He then refers to his choice. But Mark is clearly stating that when he was at a low time in his life that he may have chosen death by euthanasia. In other words, he didn't need death, he needed time and support.

Mark Davis Pickup said...

Thank you Alex - My points exactly. Tony Burns would not be so sure of his premise if he read the Supreme Court's decision. He states "There is no indication that any proposal for PAD would allow someone with years ahead of them." There is no indication physician assisted suicide would NOT be allowed for someone with years ahead of him. Tony, I have a novel idea, why don't we actually refer back to the Supreme Court ruling, as horrible as it is: In that low ruling by the high court, they said assisted suicide will be for those with a "grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition. "Irremediable" it should be added, does not require that the individual to undertake treatments that are not acceptable to the individual." Well Tony-baloney, do you read anything about stopping an individual with years ahead of him from being euthanized? Okay, do you read anything that the ruling is for the terminally ill (as assisted suicide was promoted)? Could it allow for people suffering from depression? Yes. You may say the Supreme Court stipulated that PAS is for a "competent person who clearly consents to the termination of life". Can a depressed person also be competent? Yes. One does not necessarily exclude the other.

As for that master of wit, Glen MacDonald, if it's all about personal choice and autonomy, did you not support the idea of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy that received unanimous support in the House of Commons, in October 2012? That would infringe on a suicidal persons choice to kill themselves. Or do you support both: A national suicide prevention for healthy and able-bodied suicidal Canadians, and assisted suicide for sick and disabled suicidal Canadians? Can you spell eugenics?

Jule Koch said...

Tony Burns and Glen MacDonald, why do you need help to commit suicide if you make that sad choice? According to Statistics Canada, from 2007 to 2011,the only years for which they have suicide data posted, 18,885 people killed themselves in Canada without any help from doctors.

Anonymous said...

Jule Koch, the choice is needed to prevent things like the couple who jumped from an apartment building in Toronto rather than go into LTC. What if they landed on kids playing. In my area the Go Train is routinely cancelled for six hours at a time at a cost of millions, to scrape a jumper off the tracks. Unless you want to allow people the right to import the drugs they need to have a peaceful death than, those 18K people who killed themselves all left a right mess behind. Your naivete knows no bounds, it's very messy to say hang yourself or try to find a gun in this country and then aim it correctly.

Alex Schadenberg said...

There is no evidence that shows that legalizing assisted suicide actually lessens the number and kind of horrific suicide deaths.

Linda said...

Thanks Mark for sharing your story. I agree that we all have down times and sometimes those are really deep down times. We need to work as a society to build up families so that they can support and help their members during those times. I am so thankful for my family that stands with me and helps me.