Euthanasia debate to launch in Canada as man admits to euthanizing his ill wife
LIVERPOOL, Nova Scotia, Feb 24, 2011 (LifeSIteNews.com) - Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have issued a media release today stating “On February 23, 2011, at 11:00 a.m., a 56 year-old man walked into the Queens County RCMP Detachment to confess his involvement in the death of a 59-year old woman.”
Cpl. Grant Webber, a detachment spokesman, said the RCMP are “treating this as a very serious incident,” and although the suspect has been released from police custody and no charges have yet been laid, they are looking at the incident as “possible homicide.”
“Further investigation is required to determine if charges will be laid,” Webber said in a news release. “The investigators are treating this as a very serious incident.”
“It’s definitely a unique situation,” Cpl. Scott MacRae of the Liverpool RCMP told the media.“He provided information that he did something with his wife, which is now under investigation by our Southwest Nova major crime unit.”
An unusual aspect of the story is that the suspect, identified as Stephan Bolton, telephoned The Chronicle Herald before going to the police, and told the newspaper he killed his terminally ill wife Barbara Jean Jollimore-Bolton on January 22.
“I don’t have an agenda. I have a guilty conscience,” he said, then described to The Chronicle Herald how he killed his 59 year old wife, who was suffering with Stage 4 breast cancer and in palliative care, with himself as primary caregiver.
He said he gave Barbara a lethal injection of two medications — morphine and Nozinan — and would be taking the drugs to the police detachment with him.
Bolton told the newspaper his wife was very depressed, but not in severe pain, and the two had never discussed the possibility of euthanasia. Neither did he ask Barbara if she wanted to die by lethal injection.
Bolton said that he has spent the last month living with guilt and now wants to take responsibility for his actions.
“It’s been over a month,” Bolton told The Herald. “Over that month, I tried to live with it and I just can’t — not without being told by (some) authority that what I did wasn’t wrong. I am racked by guilt and have to somehow resolve it.”
Bolton further explained that going to the media before going to the police was meant to generate debate about euthanasia.
“It’s time we decided these issues (and they are) not swept under the carpet,” Bolton said.
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition commented that “Canadians will once again begin a national debate on euthanasia based on the case of Stephan Bolton who yesterday admitted to intentionally killing his wife.”
Schadenberg pointed out that euthanasia is an act that is prosecuted as a homicide in the Criminal Code.
“Canada needs to maintain our laws prohibiting euthanasia to protect people from others who, like Bolton, may decide to ease their own pain by taking the life of another person,” Schadenberg said.
“To legalize euthanasia would mean giving one person the right to directly and intentionally cause the death of another person.”
“I have great concern about how we care for people with cancer,” Schadenberg said, “about how we provide end-of-life care for Canadians, about how we support the families, but Canada needs to recognize that the concept of legalizing euthanasia threatens the lives of vulnerable Canadians.”
The Chronicle Herald said that Barbara Jollimore-Bolton, described in her obituary as “a passionate free spirit who loved to travel, loved the outdoors and loved to laugh,” was cremated after her death.