Assisted Suicide Poll Misleading

Will Johnston, MD letter Dear Editor: Re: 67% of Canadians support legalizing assisted suicide: poll by Tom Blackwell - National Post - December 29, 2011 The “support” for assisted suicide suggested by the Forum poll is  highly misleading because it does  not reflect the true implications of the Carter assisted suicide case ongoing in Vancouver. If the poll question  were : "Would you be in favour of a system that would allow anyone, even a stranger or potential heir, to legally steer a person to commit suicide with a lethal dose, and also actively help the person commit suicide without any witnesses or their doctor present?", I expect the numbers would be quite different. I have read the court papers in the Carter case and this is what is being proposed. If Canadians find such a prospect frightening they have good reason. In my 30 years of family practice,  I have seen many cases of elder abuse, usually financial,  a problem our government vowed to fight in a fresh initiative last month.   Legalizing assisted suicide in the course of the biggest inter-generational transfer of weath in Canadian history  would seriously undermine our new-found resolve to fend off predators including those who would steer some to take their own lives. Canadians have a right to the protection of the current laws against encouraging or arranging a suicide. They should be wary of polls, and bogus “expert panels”, which urge them to trade these valuable laws for an illusion of personal control. For more information about the problems with assisted suicide, please see our website at Will Johnston MD Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC

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