COLF Response to the Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying

Tuesday, 01 March 2016
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The content of the much anticipated report issued on February 25 by the Special Joint Committee of the Government of Canada, entitled Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach, can only be described as alarming. Furthermore, should the Trudeau government succeed in adopting legislation formed by the recommendations of this report, Canada will have earned for itself the very sad distinction of having the most permissive euthanasia and assisted-suicide law in the world.

Apart from advocating that some among us be empowered to take the lives of others – even the lives of children and people living with mental illness—the Special Joint Committee, far from upholding the Charter-protected conscience rights of physicians and other health care workers, recommends the publicly-funded imposition of a philosophy of life and death which many rightly find abhorrent; with even explicitly religious hospitals being forced to comply.

The report’s recommendations demonstrate a callous disregard of the rights of faith-based health care institutions in Canada. They aim to commit tax payers of every faith and of no faith to support the provision of death in our hospitals and healthcare facilities.
The experience of countries where euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently legal – even within narrowly defined limits– has shown that the “right” to so called “medical aid in dying” can very quickly turn into an obligation to die. What can we anticipate in Canada’s provincial health care systems faced with rapidly aging populations and entirely dependent on a shrinking tax base?

Do we really want to bequeath to our children and grandchildren a country in which the value of life is determined by some arbitrary concept of “usefulness” and where respect for the rights of conscience has been eradicated?

Now is our last chance to bring pressure to bear on this critical issue. The temptation may be great to give in. But as disciples of Christ we must keep fighting to defend human life and dignity. As Pope Francis reminded us in his February 16 tweet: “Jesus would never ask us to be assassins; he calls us to be disciples. He would never send us to die. He invites us to life”. Jesus would never ask us to be assassins; he calls us to be disciples. He would never send us to die. He invites us to life.

Make your voice heard now! If you care about the future of safe healthcare in Canada, contact your Member of Parliament! Read Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach – the report issued by the Special Joint Committee of the Government of Canada—and the Pastoral statement of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

March 1, 2016