In June of this year, a judge in the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that people who cannot commit suicide because of illness or a disability have their equality rights violated under section 15 of the Charter and should be granted the right to assisted suicide. The Federal government, thankfully, has appealed the decision, and hopefully it will be overturned. Besides the fact, that I have an issue with one individual being able to change a law – I mean who died and made her Queen? – but it’s the horrible path of death and destruction that it will lead to. Already, for instance, in the Netherlands you have elderly people moving to Germany because they no longer trust their doctors or loved ones.
There are many things that concern me about where Canada is headed, we already don’t respect the lives of the unborn, and now we are starting to lose respect for the elderly, and sick.
How many elderly people, who already feel like a burden to their children, are going to feel guilty about staying alive because they are costing thousands of dollars in medical bills? Canada is already facing a health care crisis, which will only worsen with the aging baby boomers. I could easily see elderly people, who opt for assisted suicide, herald as heroes for saving taxpayers money. My “choice to die” could soon be the “duty to die”.
What about the elderly who develop dementia and can’t remember who they are? How many children will decide to end their parent’s life because they can’t stand to see their parent suffer? They see their parent suffering, but unfortunately, don’t realize that they can show compassion by suffering alongside them. Assisted suicide is the opposite of compassion because you are abandoning the person, rather than giving them the solidarity, love and presence that they so desperately need. It’s easy to end it, it’s difficult staying at someone’s bedside every day, cleaning them, feeding them and keeping them company, but when is love ever easy?
I know, many will argue that this won’t happen but, I know people already who wanted the cheapest care for their father, or limited care, because they were concerned that it would whittle away their inheritance. Canada has a ridiculously high rate of elder abuse already, if we can abuse elderly people (from our own family) how easy will it be for us to end it, or pressure them to end it?
I do not want to live in a society where life is not respected, where I go to a hospital wondering if they will help me, or suggest I think about dying? I don’t want to feel like my life is any less valuable just because I am old, sick and confined to a hospital bed. If a growing number of Canadians would choose assisted suicide to avoid being a burden than shame on us. We need to do a better job of making them feel loved and valuable, that is a true mark of a great and healthy society.