The Senate has passed the bill for doctor-assisted death. It now awaits Royal Assent.
Halifax Senator Jim Cowan questions if the bill meets constitutional requirements. Based on the Constitution and individual rights, why have politicians and governments a say in when Canadians die? Why must someone be facing a terminal illness before asking to die? Some people are incredibly lonely, I’m not talking someone who has a mental impediment, but people who have command of their faculties and no longer wish to live. Some rational people reach a point in their life when they feel “done”. Why do strangers get a say in what that individual chooses to do with their life, even if that choice is to end it?
We are a people who embraced the notion that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” So why has the state a right to say whether we choose to live or die? Who are we to say no, you don’t have that choice?
Another key element in this debate is: what happens to those people who don’t have a doctor? Without a doctor we see another example of the imbalance in health care. People – I use the word ‘people’ because without a doctor are you technically a ‘patient’ – without a doctor are denied both moral and constitutional rights to a doctor- or medically-assisted death. That doesn’t seem equitable.
Is the current bill enough?