Canada Newswire 9 Nov 2011
On November 14, 2011, trial will begin in Carter v. Attorney General of Canada, which seeks to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. Last year, Parliament defeated a bill seeking a similar result. The vote was 228 to 59. EPC was an instrumental force in obtaining this overwhelming defeat. EPC and EPC – BC have intervenor standing in Carter. They oppose assisted suicide because legalization is a recipe for elder abuse and a threat to individual patient rights.
A recipe for elder abuse
Will Johnston, a Vancouver physician and Chair of the EPC – BC states: “I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family members and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is typical. To make it worse, the victims protect the perpetrators. In one case, an older woman knew that her son was robbing her blind and lied to protect him. Why? Family loyalty, shame, and fear that confronting the abuser will cost love and care. Under current law, abusers take their victims to the bank and to the lawyer for a new will. With legal assisted suicide, the next stop would be the doctor’s office for a lethal prescription. How exactly are we going to detect the victimization when we can’t do it now?”
If assisted suicide were to be legalized under Carter’s Amended Notice of Civil Claim, new paths of abuse would be created. A more obvious path is due to a lack of oversight when the lethal dose is administered. This situation creates an opportunity for a family member or someone else to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent. Even if he struggled, who could know?
Preventing elder abuse is official Government of Canada policy.