NB’s sick, elderly, disabled at risk: Comments on Parliamentary proposals

NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release Feb. 25, 2016 The following are comments of Executive Director Peter Ryan in response to today’s recommendations on “medical assistance in dying” (MAID) from a Parliamentary Committee: All human life is sacred, and no court or law can ever change that. The law can devalue human life – that will happen if today’s parliamentary committee recommendations are adopted – but it cannot destroy the enduring truth, built into creation, that every life is inviolable. We rededicate ourselves to upholding that truth. This truth is not just religious, it’s also common sense: everyone’s life matters. The law, on the other hand, can be a complete ass. So it will be if the recommendations are adopted. Under the proposed law, if I were to kill grandma, I would be treated as a murderer. But if have a medical license, and poor grandma says it’s okay, and I kill her, it’s all very respectable. You can’t have it both ways. The same act can’t be both a very bad thing and a respectable thing. You can’t just wave a magic wand and make it all nice. If we as a country embrace these proposals, we’ll be officially delusional. It won’t just be MDs killing grandma either, and grandma won’t have to even be suffering. Nurses and pharmacists can do it too. If grandma just has a diagnosis she’s going to lose her competence (e.g. through dementia), she can get bumped off pronto. And we are supposed to think this is enlightened compassion? Why doesn’t Parliament just erect a statue depicting the god of death, so everyone can bow down and worship. That would make about as much sense as these recommendations. In the news we see aboriginal leaders decrying how suicide is a grave problem among their people. But along comes this parliamentary report extolling suicide as a right for all – and society will even help you do it. It’s so nice they want to wait three years before extending the right to minors. If these recommendations become law, it will put New Brunswick’s elderly, sick and disabled at lethal risk. And who among us may not one day be elderly, sick or disabled. Everyone is potentially at risk, when the notion “some lives are not worth living” is unleashed. The committee majority – thank God there was a minority – should be ashamed. “MAID” sounds so innocuous. Sorry, killing people is not nice. The real shame is that people need not suffer needlessly at all, thanks to the advances of palliative care. But instead of guaranteeing palliative care as the right of all (70% of Canadians lack access to it), our societal message to suffering people seems to be: “Want to kill yourself? We’ll help you do it.” Parliament does not have to do this. It can continue to defend the inviolability of life. It can reject the recommendations. And while they’re doing it, they can invoke the notwithstanding clause – they don’t have to follow the Supreme Court either! If ever there was a time to invoke that clause, this is it. - 30 - Contact: Peter Ryan (506) 459-8990 / 1-888-796-9600 / 506-471-2394

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