Canadians deserve stronger response on assisted death

More on the lack of balance on the assisted death advisory panel (see earlier Federal government appoints panel to review assisted dying but critics fear bias):

Just as importantly, to improve end-of-life care there needs to be a commitment and investment in palliative care – but that is a complement, not a substitute, for right-to-die legislation.

A panel of experts could be helpful in making recommendations. But the threesome chosen by the government features Harvey Max Chochinov, the Canada research chair in palliative care at the University of Manitoba; and Catherine Frazee, former co-director of the Ryerson-RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education, both of whom are opponents of assisted death; and Benoît Pelletier, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa and proponent of asymmetrical federalism (meaning he’s not a big believer in federal legislation).

The three are top-flight academics but they come to the table with clear biases – or a perception of bias – that strips the exercise of any real credibility. There is little doubt the government wants them to recommend the most restrictive rules imaginable.

This is an issue that cries out for rules that are consensual and compassionate, not restrictive and partisan. The nitty-gritty of right-to-die legislation should be determined by an all-party committee of elected representatives.

Let’s not forget the most important admonition of the Supreme Court, that denying the choice of a hastened death to those who are suffering “intolerably and permanently” amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Delaying a correction to this injustice is doubly and unnecessarily cruel.

Canadians deserve stronger response on assisted death – The Globe and Mail.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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