Sunday, April 24, 2016

Canadian Government Position on Suicide "Absurd"

Suicide: a right or a tragedy? 
The Emperor has no clothes.

The answer to this question might seem obvious, but the government of Canada apparently thinks that "both" is an appropriate answer. In one week, the same MPs in the same House of Commons discussed recently introduced legislation concerning assisted dying, while also holding an emergency debate on the rash of suicides and suicide attempts in remote aboriginal communities. This is absurd.
On the one hand, we are justifiably concerned and dismayed over the alarming suicide rates in aboriginal communities. And why shouldn't we be? It is tragic that so many people, especially youth, wish to end their lives, deciding that life is meaningless and not worth living.
How, then, can we as a society press for euthanasia and assisted suicide? Although some might think Bill C-14 seems quite reasonable in its approach, it opens a door which will only be forced open wider and prove difficult to close. Already, protests are mounting, stating that the proposed legislation does not go far enough.
Legalizing assisted suicide means entering a state in which human life is devalued and demeaned. It is disingenuous for our country to mourn the tragedy of aboriginal suicide victims, thus upholding the value of human life, while also pushing for assisted suicide and euthanasia, which devalue and demean life. Our response of concern and compassion to the situations in communities like Attawapiskat should also be our response to disability and terminal illness. Real medicine alleviates suffering instead of eliminating sufferers. This is what we want for Attawapiskat. Shouldn't we also want the same for the rest of society?
Notably, Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who is also aboriginal, has questioned the impact of assisted suicide, stating that "once we make a decision on this, there will be no going back." We regard the suicides in aboriginal communities (and elsewhere) as a tragedy. How is it possible that we are also attempting to claim access to suicide as a right?
Jonathan Van Schepen