Dear Friends,Also - check out this 30-minute speech on euthanasia, by Alex Schadenberg. It's a great overview that touches every aspect of the issue of euthanasia; from explaining the common terms (euthanasia, assisted suicide etc) to outlining all the threats that legal euthanasia poses to the society.
A new bill that would legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada has been introduced in Parliament. Bloc MP Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île) brought forward Bill C-384: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Right to die with dignity) on May 13, 2009.
While we oppose any legislation that would allow assisted suicide or euthanasia (AS/EU) under any circumstances, this bill is particularly dangerous. It would permit AS/EU for anyone 18 or older who is experiencing “severe physical or mental pain” and has “tried or expressly refused” treatment. This would mean that a depressed 18-year-old who refused medication could ask for and receive a lethal prescription.
The legislation would also allow AS/EU for those who request it “while appearing to be lucid”. Individuals may appear to be lucid while suffering from dementia, confusion, incapacitating depression or other factors, and may be particularly vulnerable to pressure or coercion to request assisted suicide or euthanasia.
We urge you to help oppose this legislation! It is important to act now to oppose Bill C-384 before it moves to debate in the fall.
CONTACT YOUR MP:
Contacting your MP to express your views on Bill C-384 may be the most effective method of ensuring this bill does not become law in Canada. Sample letters, a link to help locate your MP and information on how to write your own letter (the strongest approach) may be found at the links below.
Sample letters (Eng.)
Sample letters (Fr.)
Find your Member of Parliament here
Some member groups with charitable status may be concerned over engaging in political activity. While remembering that Revenue Canada permits charities to put 10% of their resources towards political activity, we also suggest that you direct your members to our website at www.lifecanada.org where they can access information on responding to Bill C-384 directly from the site.
Please write letters! Write them to your local paper, national papers, spiritual leaders in your community, your local doctor or medical centers. Watch for articles in the news on the issues of suicide, palliative care, the elderly or disabled and use the opportunity to write a letter in response that will help educate the public about assisted suicide and euthanasia. There is great confusion on this issue in Canada. Help your local community understand what is at stake by bringing the debate forward and offering information on the issues.
Some points to remember:
- Refusing or withdrawing life-prolonging treatment when dying a natural death is not assisted suicide/euthanasia. There is nothing wrong with letting death occur naturally when treatment is no longer effective.
- This does NOT include withdrawing food or fluids. Providing food and water is basic care that under no circumstances should be withdrawn unless the body is no longer able to absorb nutrients due to imminent death. “Quality of life” considerations should never be a factor—food and water is a basic human right for every living person.
- Nearly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young Canadians age 15-34. The leading cause of hospitalization in this age group is mental disorder—Bill C-384 would significantly increase the risk of suicide among young people suffering mental illness. Suicide is the leading cause of death among First Nations communities. Canada does not have a national suicide prevention strategy in place.
- Keep letters short, clear and to the point. 300 words or less is a good length.
See these links for more information:
• Text of Bill C-384
• Analysis of Bill C-384
• Assisted Suicide—Threat to Canada’s Seniors
• LifeCanada press release on Bill C-384
Monday, June 15, 2009
Life Canada media release: