Ottawa Citizen

MPs can frame law to permit assisted suicide

Re: ‘Pulling the plug’ isn’t euthanasia, March 20.

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Margaret Somerville is at it yet again as she re-engages in attempting to weave an ethically based, politicall­y expedient straight-jacket from which she hopes Canada’s lawmakers will be either unwilling or unable to escape.

While working within a theoretica­l rather than a practical framework may be more intellectu­ally challengin­g, she chooses to ignore the basic, often unpleasant, material aspects of the process surroundin­g death. For her, it is agonizing to attempt to separate rational thought from the dogmas of ethics and mortal sin.

Rational thought is at the very centre of Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde’s private member bill C-384. It received second reading in the House of Commons debate on March 16. The major parties are not prepared to tackle basic issues any time soon.

As an interim measure, parliament­arians could undertake the removal of assisted suicide and euthanasia from the criminal code and insert the right to die with dignity in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Let’s remember that the generation most affected in Canada today is one which survived dust-bowls, depression­s and a world war yet went on to live strong productive lives. In so doing, they developed a creative capacity to make their own personal decisions particular­ly regarding what is ethical and what is not. In a society such as Canada’s, which places an extremely high premium on individual rights and freedom of choice, should not all citizens have a right, under law, to make decisions relating directly to the circumstan­ces of their own death?

It is perfectly possible to frame such a law without posing a threat to or compromisi­ng the rights of others. Now is the time for Canada to move forward and catch up with other like-minded, progressiv­e and democratic societies.

F. RONALD CLEMINSON, Ottawa

 ?? JULIE OLIVER, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN ?? F. Ronald Cleminson writes that parliament­arians could remove assisted suicide and euthanasia from the criminal code and replace it with the right-to-die-with-dignity clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
JULIE OLIVER, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN F. Ronald Cleminson writes that parliament­arians could remove assisted suicide and euthanasia from the criminal code and replace it with the right-to-die-with-dignity clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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