REALity Volume XXXV Issue No. 9 September 2016
At REAL Women’s Annual General Meeting in June, 2016, our speaker was journalist and anti-euthanasia crusader, Charles Lewis. He was a former columnist for the National Post.
For many years, Mr. Lewis has been in the forefront of those who oppose our increasingly utilitarian society’s tipping of the scales in favour of some of our least favourable, secular traits such as our allegiance to radical autonomy, our general fear of death and our selfishness. These societal deficits have now manifested themselves in our Supreme Court issuing a unanimous (9-0) decree, in February, 2015, that euthanasia is now legal in Canada. Lewis described this as “the worst decision in the world.” In 2010, the Canadian Parliament voted against euthanasia, but, only six short years later, in June, 2016, based on the controversial Supreme Court decision, the Liberals passed Bill C-14, thus allowing doctors across Canada, with the full approval of the Canadian Medical Association, to kill their patients. This altogether deficient bill, including no conscience protection for healthcare workers, ignored the reports against euthanasia from both Belgian and Dutch medical experts.
How did we get to this point? In addition to the above reasons, the answer seems to be a complacent and uninformed populace, a compliant media, and politicians wishing to pander to the voters’ wishes: 80% of Canadians now say they are in favour of euthanasia.
In 2010, Senator Sharon Carstairs in her Report, “Raising the Bar: A Roadmap for the Future of Palliative Care in Canada”, fully backed the palliative care option for Canadians—the opportunity to manage symptoms and provide emotional and spiritual support for the dying. At that time, only 30% of Canadians had access to such care. Parliament and the Canadian Medical Association were fully in favour of the palliative care option. Then what? The media ignored the report and there really wasn’t any strong support for palliative care from even the Harper Conservatives (who overlooked Quebec illegally going ahead with euthanasia) or the Catholic Church. (Evangelicals were more aware: 65% opposed euthanasia.) So the progressives, led by pro-euthanasia Quebec and a 100% compliant media, made serious legal and societal inroads, which no government authorities seriously challenged. The result is that the availability of palliative care has stalled—a main reason why people, afraid of death and pain, seem so willing to accept assisted suicide.
Lewis opined that the battle is lost, but not the war. He suggested four positive steps:
1) Get every church to talk about this issue. If people know the truth about euthanasia, there’s a chance they’ll change their minds.
2) Create groups of educators, who will be able to provide the facts to their friends, families and parishes.
3) Provide support, including monetary, to non-compliant doctors and nurses, who are in jeopardy of losing their livelihoods.
4) JOIN THE EUTHANASIA PREVENTION COALITION. This group, with Alex Schadenberg as its Executive Director, is an invaluable source of information and support. Contact information: Phone: 1-877-439-3348; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our society has come a long way—in the wrong direction. At the end of his talk, Charles Lewis quoted the German Jesuit priest, Alfred Delp, who was executed by the Nazis:
“A community that gets rid of someone, a community that is allowed to and can, and wants to get rid of someone when he no longer is able to run around as the same attractive or useful member [of society] has thoroughly misunderstood itself. Even if all of a person’s organs have given out, and he no longer can speak for himself, he, nevertheless, remains a human being. Moreover to those who live around him, he remains an ongoing appeal to their inner nobility, to their inner capacity to love and to their sacrificial strength. Take away people’s capacity to care for their sick and to heal them and you make the human being into a predator—an egotistical predator, that really only thinks of his own, nice existence.”