Avoiding extremes amidst Canada’s euthanasia debate

Shiao Chong

Shiao Chong
April 7, 2016

Christians should avoid two extremes in approaching the challenge of euthanasia.

Mike Hogeterp
April 7, 2016

Thanks for this thoughtful piece Shiao Chong! I've been working the phones and halls of Parliament on this a little and can tell you that MPs are hearing very little from their constituents about this issue. Its important that this legislation be a measured response to the Supreme Court decision and the recent Parliamentary Committee report. Essentially, a failure to bring in legislation before June 6 will lead to a legal vacuum and unregulated physician assisted death in Canada. I encourage citizens to get in touch with their MPs to encourage them to work for legislation that protects vulnerable people from involuntary euthanasia, protects the conscience of medical care providers who object to assisted death, and promotes dignity and compassion at the end of life through the provision of palliative services.

Thanks for citing Vanier - always profound truths!
Mike Hogeterp
Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, Ottawa.

Bill Wald
April 7, 2016

Asking doctors to kill people is sort of like asking judges to rob banks. This includes using doctors at legal executions. There should be another sort of qualified tech who is licensed to kill.

Bob Hamilton
April 8, 2016

At what point will the Right to die become the Obligation to die?

Doug Vande Griend
April 12, 2016

I'm afraid it is not possible to avoid an extreme postion on this issue. The Canadian court, as I read their decision, has already imposed a extreme rule for the nation,ordering legislatures to flesh out their extreme position decision in supporting legislation.

The game is already over. All that is left is writing the newspaper article describing just exactly what happened.

Shiao Chong
April 15, 2016

The Canadian government has now tabled the bill, and you can read about it in this news article:
It is nowhere as extreme as the parliamentary committee's report. Physician assisted suicide is restricted to only competent adults who have an irreversible condition with a reasonably foreseeable death. No one under 18 and no one without a terminal illness are allowed access to euthanasia.
What is not clear at this point is the freedom of conscience of physicians and institutions who do not want to partake.

July 30, 2016

"If WE refuse to accept our fragilities and sufferings, then we proclaim that only in independence and strength are we human. When we do that, we ultimately diminish our full humanity in God’s image."

Isn't this the issue -- you are welcome to accept your own fragilities and sufferings. But imposing them on other people who don't believe as you do --isn't that a problem?

Why don't Christians who believe as you do simply model what you believe is beautiful about your way, and allow people to choose it -- or not. Why must you involve yourself in the decision making of other people. Oregon, Washington and Vermont have had death with dignity laws for awhile now. I understand some are terrified of some slippery slope in which people will be forced to choose assisted suicide -- is that what has happened there? I don't think so.

I am pretty much sure that if my days become unmitigated suffering, I will not regard the action of some Christians attempting to prevent my peaceful death as compassionate. I will view them as an attempt to impose a cold-hearted theory on me and my family. The truth is that there is some pain that cannot be medicated--and I cannot believe God wishes that on anyone for the purposes of what will seem an abstract notion of "what it means to be human." But regardless, why shouldn't I have the choice to move to one of your caring centers for the dying (you do plan to provide those, correct?) or to die with the help of a physician, with the safeguards in place of other US states?

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