Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Euthanasia in Canada: What has happened to democracy?

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, 

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last January, Prime Minister Trudeau replaced Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould and appointed Hon. David Lametti as Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada. Wilson-Raybould was replaced because she refused to change her mind when pressured by Trudeau in the SNC Lavalin affair.

I was very concerned by Lametti's appointment because Lametti had voted against Canada's euthanasia bill because he thought that it was too restrictive.

Hon David Lametti
Soon after, Lametti, in an interview with Tonda MacCharles from the Toronto Star, stated that the government would not expand Canada's euthanasia law before the five-year review that was to begin in June 2020. MacCharles reported:

Any changes would have to wait until the conclusion of a five-year parliamentary review about how the new regime is working. 
“the parliamentary process struck “an important balance” that he respects, and a five-year review would be able to assess “data” and “evidence” about the impact the law is having.
On September 11, a Quebec Superior court judge struck down the requirement, in Canada's euthanasia law, that a person's "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable." This section of the law was not defined but it did prevent people from being lethally injected based on psychological reasons alone. 

The Quebec court gave the Quebec and Federal governments 30 days, or until October 11 to appeal the decision. But alas, Canada was in the middle of a federal election.

During the French language leaders debate Prime Minister Trudeau decided to ignore democracy and the promise by his government to uphold the current euthanasia law until after the completion of a five-year review (June 2021). Trudeau stated that the government will not appeal the Quebec court decision and the Liberals would amend the current euthanasia law soon after the election.

Jody Wilson-Raybould - David Lametti
Remember that Wilson-Raybould was removed as the Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada because she refused to be influenced by Trudeau in the SNC Lavalin affair. Wilson-Raybould stated that it was not a political decision but a decision based on the independent role as the Attorney General.

Similarly it is undue influence for Trudeau to announce that the government will not appeal the Quebec court decision? Trudeau had no right to politically interfere in a legal decision. 

Even if Trudeau agreed with the court decision, the decision should still have been appealed based on the language of the decision and the precedent that it establishes. Political interference should not have been allowed in this case either.

Finally, what is the point of a five-year review if the law is amended before the review? 

What has happened to democracy in Canada?


Paul Anderson said...

Very disappointing. Mr. Trudeau's decision not to appeal the Truchon-Gladu judgment seems to have been influenced by the proximity of the federal election. He has taken pains not to appear eager to challenge legal decisions made in Quebec, including the recent religious symbols law, as the LIberals need votes there.

D Desrochers said...

Am I correct in saying that an unfortunate result of the Charter of Rights is that Judges have power to legislate? We should revise it. Secondly, does it not seem that Judges interpreted the Canadian Charter as based on the foundation of "rule of law" only while ignoring the foundation of "supremacy of God", as specified in the Charter preamble? Surely, the Judeo-Christian God's commandments such as Do not murder, Do not steal, do not lie or cheet, care for the child, orphan, widow, the poor, sick, disabled, and dying, the command to seek peace, love enemies, etc. formed Canada's foundation of laws and values. They set an objective standard of right and wrong. But that foundation has eroded.
Seems to me that now Canadian judges and legislators think even murder is not so wrong anymore. Perhaps Canadians aught to stand guard against such thinking and demand they use God's laws as the objective truth again. We Canadians need to repair this 2nd foundation before our government, say, builds "death centres" to solve its problems of the high costs of health care, homelessness, mental illness, palliative care, disabilities, poverty, unemployment, refugees, etc.
The Nazis euthanized their own people first to free up hospital beds for soldiers: 70k+ long term sick and disabled men, women, and children euthanized at death centers, justifed because these were not living lives that were worthwhile. Later they sent the gypsies, political dissonants, and other scaoegoats like the Jews.
"Never Again" Canada!

Gilles Saint-Amour said...

Very interistingly, after obtaining an amendment to the law basing their revendication on the extreme pain they were suffering and the anguish of having to wait any longer, Mrs Gladu declared «having many thngs to do, like studying the new amendment, and seeing some friends, and not being in such a hurry after all. Mr Truchon said, well, «I want to see this winter, live theough it, then the next spring, then we will see what happens next summer». To much for the emergency of changing the law.

Gilles Saint-Amour
Lévis, Qué.