Peter Baklinski


Assisted suicide case to receive arguments tomorrow from Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Peter Baklinski

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, December 13, 2011 ( – A case challenging Canada’s constitutional prohibition on physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia will receive oral arguments tomorrow from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), a group that fights to secure respect for the “dignity of human life” for the elderly and the vulnerable.

Carter vs. Attorney General of Canada was filed April of this year. If successful, the case would legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia as a “medical treatment” in Canada.

Critics of the case have argued that legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia would not only create a recipe for elder abuse, but it would empower the Canadian health care system at the expense of the rights of the individual patient.

“Concerns about safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors will be central to the arguments advanced by EPC before the court, as will concerns about a harmful shift in our cultural ethic that will occur if assisted suicide is legalized,” said Hugh Sche, EPC’s legal counsel who will present the arguments tomorrow.

Dr. Will Johnston, EPC’s B.C. chair, pointed out that abuses already exist under the current law, with abusers taking their elderly victims to the bank for money or to the lawyer for a new will. “With legal assisted suicide, the next stop would be the doctor’s office for a lethal prescription,” he said.

“I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family members and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is typical. To make it worse, the victims protect the abusers.”

“How are we going to detect victimization when we can’t do it now?” he said.

Alex Schadenberg, EPC’s executive director says he believes that Canadian’s have already rejected assisted suicide and euthanasia.

“The issue was debated last year in parliament and consistent with earlier Senate Committee reports, parliament overwhelmingly defeated Bill C-384, a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, by a vote of 228 to 59.”

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is asking those who value human life, especially the lives of the elderly and the vulnerable, to write letters to their local and national newspapers expressing their concerns regarding the Carter case. The EPC suggests that letter writers make use of its Talking Points and Commentary on the case to pen effective messages.

Schadenberg told supporters today that the Petition campaign to the Attorney General of Canada opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide has so far proved “very successful.”

The petition can be signed online or downloaded in english or french. EPC is asking its supporters to return petitions before December 31st.

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