Odd Thoughts: Death’s desire finally dignified

A deadline is fast approaching.

And “deadline” is an apt description of the decision required of Parliament this week.

A year and a half ago, Canada’s Supreme Court heard from two women who wanted to stop.

Kay Carter and Gloria Taylor had had enough.

They had had enough of suffering.

They had had enough of life.

They didn’t just want death, they wanted death with dignity.

They wanted help from a doctor who could assure a quick and painless end.

They felt that it was wrong that the Criminal Code of Canada equated any such assistance with murder.

The country’s top judges all agreed. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Criminal Code’s prohibition against assisted suicide contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Basically, the court said that we own the house we live in. And when we want to get rid of the house, we are allowed to ask for help from experts.

If and when we want to die, we can get help to make sure it’s done right.

But the judges didn’t just tear down the subdivision.

The court recognized that a caring and compassionate government should ensure that folks don’t start offing themselves willy nilly, with rules restricting suicide assistance to “adults who are mentally competent and suffering intolerably and enduringly.”

You might also expect some laws to ensure “assistance” isn’t actually murder.

The court delayed its February 2015 ruling until June 6, 2016 – Monday next.

Naturally, since this is literally a life-and-death matter, the government sat on its thumbs just about as long as it possibly could.

It’s not unfair to characterize the government as procrastinating on this issue. They’ve had more than enough time to “get it right.”

The first attempt to offer Canadians death with dignity was brought to the House of Commons by Langley MP Bob Wenman in the 1980s. And for the current crop of Conservatives wringing their hands over the current Bill C-14, Bob was one of theirs.

This has been an issue of concern for many people for a long, long time – people dying in prolonged agony, and the families who have borne heart-rending witness to their loved-ones’ pain.

The courts have little claim to moral high ground. It took them the same decades of indifference salted with religious indignation before coming to their rational conclusion – decades in which compassionate assistance was time and again rewarded with jail sentences.

Finally, the misplaced morality that has been forced on people who are hurting too much to appreciate the kindness is being replaced with common sense.

Some people want death more than anything else.

Some people need death more than anything else.

It’s their right.

 

Just Posted

Langley Rams downed by Saskatoon Hilltops at Canadian Bowl

Four-time Canadian Junior Football League champions built up an insurmountable lead

VIDEO: Crash on 88 Avenue in Langley

At least one car suffered extensive damage

Extreme weather alert issued by Langley shelter

Gateway of Hope offers homeless warm place to sleep

VIDEO: Autographs with Hockey Hall of Fame member, Marcel Dionne

Marcel Dionne, as well as other NHL greats, have arrived to the Langley Events Centre for the 2018 Legends Weekend

Giants serve up major defeat to Pats at Langley Events Centre

On the ice, Vancouver G-Men wrap up home stand with a 10-4 win over Regina Friday night.

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Most Read