Congratulations to Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister Elect of Canada. He’s young, handsome, carries a famous name, demonstrated he has an ear for what the public is clamoring for, and now has the most vital weapon of all, power. But will he deny democracy to the majority of Canadians who elected him? Or ignore the will of the Supreme Court of Canada? Soon we will know whether Trudeau wears knickers or long pants.
Trudeau, in his victory speech, fired a salvo when he uttered the words Abraham Lincoln delivered on the eve of the U.S. Civil War. Lincoln worried that leaders needed to appeal to the, “Better angels of our nature.”
But will Trudeau, on the contrary, use devilish political tactics that appeal to a vocal minority, the very thing he allegedly opposes?
In the largest survey of its kind in Canada to determine if Canadians should be granted the constitutional right to assisted death, the result was overwhelming. Eighty percent of those who said they were Christians and 83% of Catholics believe that doctors should be permitted to help terminally ill patients end their lives.
Equally important, 57% of those surveyed said they had watched someone suffer a terrible death. Of this group, 85% supported assisted dying. And 85% of disabled people were in favour of assisted death. A lawyer citing these statistics would convince a jury the case is closed. So would Trudeau’sm “Better angels of our nature.”
I have a deep, personal interest in this matter, so I hope Trudeau’s angels win the day. Years ago, the Gifford-Jones Foundation donated $500,000 to the University of Toronto Medical School to establish the W. Gifford-Jones Professorship in Pain Control and Palliative care. In the interim, more doctors have been trained to relieve suffering. But I and the angels know that there comes a time when even the best of palliative care cannot ease all agony.
In February, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that assisted death should be an option for those grievously and terminally ill and who wished to end their suffering with the help of a physician.
So what did the Harper government do?
The consulting panel for implementation was stacked with members who oppose assisted death. It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hens, an inhumane despicable act for those crying out for help to end their suffering.
Good sense should tell Trudeau that the majority of those who elected him have already given him an overpowering mandate to allow assisted death. And that there is no need to waste millions of dollars of tax payers dollars on more time-consuming surveys while people die in misery.
Hopefully, Trudeau and his good angels will also realize that surveys reveal a highly vocal minority, paid administrators (who don’t want to lose their jobs), who continue to shout to High Heaven that the devil will take over and innocent people will be killed by overzealous physicians. What a lie, when the majority of doctors, to their eternal shame, have declared they oppose assisted death. Their role is to end suffering.
So, will the Prime Minister Elect begin the day by putting on short knickers or long pants? If it’s long pants, he’ll quickly disband Harper’s fox-laden committee, and tell his fellow parliamentarians to immediately enact the law allowing assisted death. This would bring Canada into line with the many nations who allow this humanitarian act.
Studies from the United States and other countries that allow assisted death show that relatively few with terminal illness ask for it. But it is comforting to know it’s available.
I have stated repeatedly that those who oppose assisted death have every right to end or prolong their lives in whatever way they wish. A study should be done to see how many cry for help when excruciating pain strikes.
But I have always believed it irrational and inhumane to allow human suffering when none of us would allow a beloved dog to die in agony. It’s high time for Trudeau and his good angels to end this great injustice.
For medical tips, see the web site at www.docgiff.com. For comments, email info @docgiff.com.