Right to die (3)

John Ibbitson, writing in the daily political briefing in the Globe and Mail explains that Prime Minister Trudeau’s government may have gone about as far as the public wants with Bill C-14. He says that “some Liberal MPs argued the government’s bill doesn’t go far enough, others worried it goes too far. Bill C-14, whatever else it might be, is a compromise intended to win the support of the Liberal caucus.

Further he explains that “In the Carter decision, the Supreme Court said a person might qualify for an assisted death who had a “grievous and irremediable medical condition.” That definition is broad enough to qualify a minor, a person with a mental illness, or a person with a chronic but not terminal condition, for an assisted suicide …[but] … The street doesn’t like that at all. On our street, to name just one, people welcome the idea of a medically assisted death for someone in the final and agonizing stages of a terminal disease. But the mentally ill? Minors? Someone with a non-life-threatening condition? No … [and] … Two separate polls bolster that street sense. An Angus Reid Institute pollreported that 78 per cent of Canadians agreed with the statement: “Psychological suffering on its own should NOT be considered a reason for obtaining a doctor assisted suicide.” A Nanos poll showed 59 per cent of Canadians disagreeing with the statement: “Minors who are 16 and 17 years of age should be able to access assisted dying.” There is, however, broad public support for the right to an assisted death in the final stages of a terminal condition.

It is, indeed, as Mr Ibbitson says, “difficult to fault a government that is simply trying to pass legislation more or less in accord with the public will.

winston-churchill-quotes-14My guess is that it will pass, more or less in its current form, and it will be challenged in the courts and, eventually, and the Supremes will rule that it is too restrictive and it will be back in Parliament for a re-do in 2018 or so. Sometimes leading is hard …

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