Member of Parliament Steven Fletcher introduced two private member’s bills to legalize assisted suicide in March 2014. We would like to share with you this press release issued in response to Mr. Fletcher’s proposal by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.
Steven Fletcher Is Wrong: Assisted Suicide Not A Form of Love
27 March 2014
For Immediate Release
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is speaking out against MP Steven Fletcher’s Private Member’s Bills on assisted suicide because legalized assisted suicide threatens the lives and dignity of people with disabilities and the elderly. In a media interview promoting his Bills, Mr. Fletcher questioned, “Where is the love, where is the compassion,” and CCD answers that neither love nor compassion for people with disabilities are to be found in assisted suicide.
In making the case for assisted suicide, Steven Fletcher presented the frightening image of people drowning in their own phlegm. He neglected to inform the public of existing options, such as palliative sedation, which are available to alleviate extreme forms of suffering. Ethical options of symptom management seek to kill the pain, not the patient.
Since it intervened in the Sue Rodriguez case at the Supreme Court, CCD has been analyzing the effect of assisted suicide on people with disabilities, by monitoring other jurisdictions where it has been legalized. As CCD spokesperson Jim Derksen has written, “Most people think the eligibility criteria for assisted suicide is terminal illness and constant pain that cannot be relieved, but these are very slippery and difficult concepts. The concept of pain as expanded under permissive assisted-suicide legislation in European countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands includes existential and emotional pain. Broad definitions of terminality and pain include disabilities that do not necessarily prevent people from living full lives.”
To arrange a media interview, please contact Mr. Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator (204-947-0303 or firstname.lastname@example.org).