Wenman’s euthanasia bill is dangerous
Conservative MP Robert Wenman told a Commons committee on November 5 is private members Bill C-203, would not legalize euthanasia or doctor assisted suicide.
“Unnecessary and dangerous”
Others disagree completely.
Alliance for Life, the national umbrella for pro-life educational groups, appearing before the committee on October 29, stated in their position statement that it considers this legislation “unnecessary and dangerous.”
“We presume the real purpose,” the statement said, “is to give a veneer of respectability to the concept of euthanasia.”
Two days later, on October 31, Campaign Life Coalition submitted its brief to the committee.
“The Bill before us appears at first glance to be an innocuous piece of legislation which simply codifies what is already taking place with medical care of terminally ill patients across the country” the brief stated.
“Closer inspection, however, reveals that the Bill cleverly encompasses the concept of ‘living wills’ and worse, would legalize the direct killing of patients under the guise of alleviating pain and suffering. The Bill has been characterized by one government member as a formula for passing euthanasia; in our view it is a formula for more active forms of euthanasia. “We recommend that Bill C-203 be defeated, the CLC brief concluded.
On the same day, Campaign Life Coalition’s Quebec counterpart Campagne Quebec Vie submitted similar objections.
On November 5, the Catholic Health Association of Canada objected to the proposed legislation.
“As Bill C-203 stands now,” their five-page submission states, “It is too ambiguous and permits interpretations that could be unacceptable to many Canadians.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), whose delegate appeared alongside that of the Catholic Health Association, held a similar opinion. So did Toronto’s Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic in a two-page letter to the committee dated November 4.
The objections overlap. They concern both the extremely vague language and the vague nature of the directions.
Key phrases such as “medical treatment,” “medically useless,” “can request,” “best interest of the patient,” “measures intended to eliminate or relieve…suffering …,” “for the sole reason,” will or are likely to shorten life,” are all left undefined. This opens the way to radical misinterpretations.
Moreover, the value of life is confused with the “quality” of life; family and relatives are excluded from decisions about the terminal patient. The medical profession is designated as the enemy against which patients must protect themselves.
Stated the CLC brief.
It is generally regarded that the Mulroney government is using the private Wenman bill as a stalking horse to get euthanasia legislation accepted.
Its language is that of legislation analyzed in 1973 by the Law Reform Commission (LRC).
But, while in 1973 the LRC opposed euthanasia, Justice Minister Kim Campbell, a pro-abortion feminist, favours Living Wills and Right to Die legislation.
Now that the killing of pre-born babies is a well-established practice, it stands to reason that the elimination of increasingly costly ‘useless eaters’ – the old, the ill, and the handicapped – should be next.
Today the patient’s right to refuse extraordinary medical measures is well established.
But this does not appear enough to the federal and provincial authorities who seek to cut health expenditures.
Robert Wenman, (PC, Fraser Valley West) is said to be ‘pro-life.’ Yet, in drafting his legislation, he consulted with AIDS Vancouver; Dying with Dignity; the Persons with AIDS Society; MacLaren House, Vancouver, as well as the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Nurses Association and the Law Reform Commission.
He did not consult with any pro-life organization who are completely opposed to any form of euthanasia.
“This is a pro-life MP?” asked Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition.