Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dying With Dignity: It's Your Right

I applaud the new Liberal government on their endeavor to craft "quick and expedited" legislation on doctor-assisted death ( and respect the rights of Canadians to choose if they want to die with dignity. On Feb. 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously voted to strike down the ban on physician-assisted dying because it violated Canadians' charter rights. The federal and provincial governments then had a year to prepare for the decision to come into effect. Swift action is a "top priority" for the Grits as the Feb. 6, 2016 deadline looms, but they have not confirmed yet if they will seek an extension. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said it is important for the government to collaborate the provinces, territories, stakeholders, and the public as it deals with the extremely complex social policy. She added that it is both important to "respect the personal beliefs and autonomy of families and individuals and to protect those who could be vulnerable." Always daring to be different, Quebec is moving ahead with its own legislation that is scheduled to take effect Dec. 10th. There is some opposition though: an outstanding request for an injunction from a doctors' group. It is unclear if the feds will try to will make a formal bid to prevent the legislation from coming into effect. I believe it should until all the provinces are prepared to adhere to the same legislation. While I support euthanasia and dying with dignity, I believe Quebec should not be an exception to the rule. They do belong to the country after all and should wait until such legislation is officially passed. Wanda Morris, CEO of Dying with Dignity Canada, believes an extension is unnecessary because regulatory bodies and existing provincial health legislation can guide euthanasia in the interim. She says making people who are in grave suffering wait another six months is too much. I agree. I also believe that doctor-assisted death is as much of a right as a woman's right to have an abortion. No government has the right to dictate and prohibit one's medical rights and decisions pertaining to health and quality of life. Individuals should be able to decide how to live or not live their final days. Furthermore, I think people who suffer from chronic and debilitating depression should be able to decide whether they want a doctor to help ease their pain permanently. They are of much more sound mind than paranoid schizophrenics who would be in no position to make a similar decision. Mental illness is an extremely difficult illness to live with, something not everyone realizes unless they have personally experienced it. Thank goodness Canada is getting on track with giving Canadians back their power to choose.

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