Quebec thumbs its nose at Supreme Court

Quebec doesn't feel legally bound by Canada's separation of powers regarding criminal law

Quebec thumbs its nose at Supreme CourtAn early surprise of 2016 has to be the failure of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s ghost to streak across the sky ululating at the damage done last week to his beloved Canadian constitution. Even minus the inspiration of Trudeau père in spiritus, however, Canadians who care at all about our constitutional democracy, and about the rule…

Supreme Court has spoken on assisted dying Mr. Trudeau

Trudeau government attempts to squirm out of implementing Supreme Court ruling on assisted dying for a suffering few

Supreme Court has spoken on assisted dying Mr. TrudeauIn an odd twist of Canadian history and fate, a British Columbia lawyer is defending the Supreme Court of Canada against the federal government. Almost a year ago, on Feb. 6, 2015, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that some Criminal Code sections were unconstitutional: it said that a very small group of people are entitled under…

Five ways we can reduce suicide in Canada

Why a suicide prevention strategy needs to include personal injury prevention

Five ways we can reduce suicide in CanadaCanadian rates of suicide and attempted suicide have remained largely unchanged over the last several decades. But we have seen increasing rates of suicide in the Canadian military recently, after stable rates for decades. Over 40,000 Canadian soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan, so there has been an understandable concern about mental health problems and suicides among…

Assisted suicide raises troubling questions

For anyone wondering why physician-hastened death makes disabled people feel vulnerable, wonder no more

Assisted suicide raises troubling questionsI like Stephen Fletcher. Our brief encounters, typically in airports or the occasional public event, are always friendly and cordial. It is hard not to admire him. Despite suffering from quadriplegia, he has found the strength to serve his country as a Member of Parliament, at various times holding appointments as Minister of State (Democratic…

Assisted suicide not the only response to suffering

It is false to equate suffering arising from disease, illness or disability with a loss of dignity

Assisted suicide not the only response to sufferingIt is eloquent, persuasive and based in law; it almost had me convinced that physician-assisted dying is the correct response to suffering. In the Carter decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a competent adult who consents to death, and has a “grievous and irremediable medical condition (including illness, disease or disability) that causes…

Canadians now have the human right to be killed

Supreme Court’s assisted-suicide decision a perversion of human rights

Canadians now have the human right to be killedOver the past week or so, the implications of the Supreme Court decision in the assisted suicide case have gradually been clarified. A commonsensical reading of the decision and some reflection on how the Supremes obfuscate the English language suggests an ethical and logical incoherence seldom achieved even by the ermine-clad lawyers who have made…

It’s time to talk about end of life

Most of us do not have the means of providing palliative care for our loved ones

It’s time to talk about end of lifeChoice now trumps life as Canada's political preference of, well, choice. For the first 149 years of our country’s existence, life had dignity and deserved the fullest protection of the law. But by this time next year, Parliament must codify the principle that the choice to take one's life is a greater good than life…

Dying badly a fact of life in Canada

A lack of proper palliative care could lead to increases in requests for assisted suicides

Dying badly a fact of life in CanadaA few days after the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the prohibition against doctor-assisted suicide, I received a note from a wonderful colleague of mine saying that her closest friend’s 53 year old son had just died of spinal cancer. Two weeks before his death he had visited his general practitioner, experiencing “terrible pain.” Despite…

Assisted suicide ruling changes Canada, forever

Legislating physician-assisted suicide is bound to be difficult, but there are ways to mitigate any adverse consequences

Assisted suicide ruling changes Canada, foreverThe Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision on assisted suicide last Friday means that, soon, doctors (and only doctors) may lawfully help competent adults, who are grievously and irremediably ill, to end their lives. Even though this litigation began in 2011 and is likely to cause less than 1 per cent of all Canadian deaths…
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