I am not finished yet. You are right. That is not the whole side. The practice of most caring medical professional people is that they will err on the side of relieving suffering and in so doing, on occasion or even often, will allow that life to go at the point when suffering becomes excessive.
I would like to see the practice made legal so that the choice is for everyone to make. If I were to become terminally ill I would want my life preserved as long as possible. I would use all the medical technology I could to extend my life. But I believe there is a point in suffering where I would want to be able to say as a mature, responsible adult: "That is enough, let me go. Help me go". I would want to use the technology available to us through medical science to let me choose to say that is enough and let me go.
It is unfortunate that this is a decision question. Who will make the decision? Will it be your doctor, will it be your family, will it be yourself or will it be God? What is the combination?
One of the problems right now is that everybody sits around the deathbed arguing about who should make the decision, or saying nothing because that is easier than arguing. It goes on and on and on. People feel great pity and empathy. They feel sad but they cannot make a decision. That is why there should be the right of the individual to make a rational, logical choice through access to medical technology which will allow us to terminate our own life when there is no further hope.
This is not just what I think, it is what the court has declared. The court has declared that it needs direction. From where? From Parliament, from here, from us. We have to overcome our fear of this subject and deal with it, and we all have that fear in varying degrees.
Some people compare it to the abortion issue. Tie it in. It has nothing to do with the abortion issue. In the case of abortion we are talking about two people's lives, the life of the child and the life of the mother. In that case it is easy for me. It is a matter of nurturing, preserving and protecting that life.
June 7, 1993
However, when we are talking about the end of our lives as mature responsible adults in the face of medical technology, I want to be protected by and for and against that technology, technology that wants to overly prolong my suffering and which will not allow me to make the decision in an appropriate manner through law.
Why do we not then put that decision back into the hands of the doctors? Do we put it in the hands of the individual? Why not decriminalize it and let each doctor, each individual make his or her own choice? Am I not responsible or intelligent enough to make that choice? I think I am. And I resent that any government or other parliamentarians would deny me that right of choice.
Death for many is not death; it is a release to eternal life. Why would any Christian try to prevent that release to eternal life?
I have made a great many arguments but am out of time to make those again in Bill C-203. But they will be made, if not by this Parliament then by the next Parliament, because the people of Canada demand that we make the change.
Subtopic: CRIMINAL CODE