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OTTAWA, October 30, 2001 (LSN.ca) – In a debate in the House of Commons Friday, Canadian Alliance MP Jason Kenney made a spirited defence of the right to life in remarks against euthanasia. Kenney spoke to a private members bill on the issue of lenient penalties for those who claim to murder the disabled out of misguided sympathy.

The bill was presented by NDP MP Wendy Lill, with Kenney, Grant McNally and Karen Kraft Sloan speaking in favour of the motion. The official government response delivered by Lynn Myers (Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada), obfuscated by talking around the motion rather than addressing it. He outlined the history and nature of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which the bill asks not be given to those who kill the disabled out of supposed “mercy”.

Kenney said, “we cannot and must not make distinctions between human persons and their right to life.” He called the “sanctity of human life,” the “first principle” of “our entire legal structure, legal system and, I would suggest, western civilization.” Thus “to take the life of individuals because of the circumstances of their life, be it their ethnicity, religion, age, social or economic condition or their physical and mental condition is to violate the very first premise upon which a society founded on the rule of law exists,” he said.

Kenney interpreted the preamble to the Constitution “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles which recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law” to mean that “the rights which we possess, the rights of which the charter speaks, are not rights granted by the state, by a legislature or by a court, nor are they rights that can be abrogated by any of those institutions. Rather, these are rights that are inherent and inalienable in the human person. No man, no parliament, no father, even a father in great emotional turmoil and confusion, has the right to suspend and to violate the inalienable dignity of the human person.”

He reminded the House that a “horrific example” of a state which “made a qualitative distinction between different human beings based on arbitrary criteria” was the Nazi system. He recalled that the “Nazi movement started its reign of terror and death, not with the execution of Jews in the Holocaust but rather with the eugenics program which sought to eliminate those who were deemed imperfect because of some condition of life, such as being mentally or physically disabled.”

See the whole debate in the Hansard at:  https://www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/103_2001-10-26/HAN103-E.htm#OOB-60905

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