OPINION: No rush on assisted dying

The issue of assisted dying requires careful study and more time.

The Supreme Court of Canada has thrown out the Criminal Code provisions which deal with assisting people to commit suicide. It is a stark reversal of the court’s decision, by a 5-4 margin in 1994, to uphold that aspect of Canadian law.

The court has given the federal government one year to come up with new laws.

This timetable is clearly far too ambitious. A federal election is planned for October, and if there ever was an issue that requires careful study and much consultation in advance of a law being proposed, this is it. Try doing that in an election year.

The judges seem almost ignorant of practical problems caused by their timetable, even as it seems obvious they have been influenced by a shift in public opinion. Most surveys suggest that about 80 per cent of Canadians are in favour of some form of assisted dying or euthanasia for people suffering from terminal illness, although just what they actually favour varies widely.

Are they in favour of the Dutch approach, where teens and people suffering from depression can be put to death by physicians? Or do they favour the far more measured approach adopted in the state of Oregon, where the patient must request drugs, both verbally and in writing, which can end their lives.

As people’s lives have been lengthened due to medical advances in areas like heart surgery, cancer treatment and organ transplants, many live long enough so that end-of -life issues are even more challenging than they have been.

The issue requires careful study and more time.


Just Posted

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

Esquimalt puts freeze on taxes for local businesses

The tax increase for residents sits at 5.51 per cent, averaging to an additional $46

Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Unhappy Tsawout accuse leadership of cultural destruction

Development replacing Fairfield United Church gets final approval

The new Unity Commons Development will take over the space at 1303 Fairfield Rd.

Saanich forwards student-targeted development to public hearing

Proposed development advertises itself to individuals who want a car-free lifestyle

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Most Read