TORONTO (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archbishop of Toronto is slamming recent Canadian legislation that would allow assisted suicide for people whose death isn't foreseeable.
On Sunday, Cdl. Thomas Collins warned about the pro-death Bill C-7, which was introduced on Feb. 24:
If Bill C-7 is passed, those whose death is "reasonably foreseeable" will no longer need a 10-day reflection period before receiving a lethal injection. One will not need a terminal illness to be euthanized. Under this legislation, any serious incurable illness, disease or disability would render a person eligible for euthanasia.
Lawmakers say the bill amends current Canadian law to conform it with a September court decision in Quebec. Collins, however, sees the bill as "a new chapter of death on demand."
A Quebec court ruled in September that the "reasonably foreseeable" death requirement in Canada's euthanasia law, in force since 2016, was too restrictive. Federal Justice Minister David Lametti claimed the change would curtail suffering.
"The proposed amendments aim to reduce suffering, while also supporting individual autonomy and freedom of choice," said Lametti.
But in his Sunday letter, Collins stated Canada's focus should be on comforting the sick. This type of care, he noted, is woefully lacking in Canada.
Where is the political will to push forward on palliative care for all Canadians? Only 30% of Canadians have access to quality palliative care even though we know that pain and loneliness are among the biggest fears of those who are suffering. Palliative care can address these issues.
Comforting the suffering, asserted the cardinal, is the answer rather than killing them.
"If all Canadians had access to quality palliative care, fewer would seek lethal injection," Collins affirmed. "Instead of developing an overall culture of care, we are rushing towards death on demand."
The rush to which Collins referred was the fact that Canada was disregarding a five-year period of review it had promised in 2016 to observe before introducing new pro-death legislation. Collins said no such review took place.
"Our country is moving forward without such critical analysis, even though the government itself reports that since 2016 at least 13,000 people have died from lethal injection," he remarked.
His point was backed by Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
"The government should wait before amending the law," affirmed Schadenberg. "In June 2020, the government will begin its consultation on five years of euthanasia in Canada."
Schadenberg further warned that eliminating the requirement that death be "reasonably foreseeable" will open the door for people to use assisted suicide for merely psychological reasons.
"A person didn't qualify for euthanasia based on psychological reasons alone since the law required that a person's 'natural death be reasonably foreseeable' but since the Quebec court struck down this requirement, the law now permits euthanasia for psychological reasons," explained Schadenberg.
Schadenberg said the new bill merely "pretends to prevent euthanasia for psychological suffering."
Collins addressed the need for compassionate care, especially for vulnerable patients.
Those who feel that their life no longer has value must be assured by all of us that this is absolutely not the case — there is dignity within each human life, not just when we are young, healthy and able, but even more so, when we are fragile and vulnerable.
In his letter, Collins heart also went out to the doctors, who would be mandated to violate their conscience by killing their patients.
"The same doctors who are trying to care for their patients will now be called on to approve euthanasia for them," lamented the cardinal.
The cardinal exhorted all Canadians to step up and foster a culture of care that would replace the onslaught of the culture of death.
"The answer is not assisted death in its many forms," exhorted Collins, "it is accompanying our family, our friends and even strangers to assist them in life, recognizing the inherent dignity of every person."