Euthanasia is a runaway train in Canada. It’s time to hit the brakes.

May 6, 2022

In an article published recently in National Post titled, “Euthanasia is a runaway train in Canada. It’s time to hit the brakes,” RFI Research Fellow Brian Bird argues against the expansion of the euthanasia license in Canada.

An assistant professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, Bird looks with alarm at how access to euthanasia has changed in a short period of time, and may change further still, in Canada:

By next year, Canada may have journeyed — in only seven years — from a total prohibition on euthanasia to euthanasia at an adult’s deathbed to euthanasia for mental and physical illness at any moment of an adult’s life. The speed with which we have travelled on an issue of tectonic societal significance, and the territory we have covered, should raise questions about the wisdom of our approach. Advocates say it is progress. I worry it is a runaway train.

Making matters worse, there are signs that recent changes in Canada’s euthanasia policy may undermine end-of-life care by providing grounds to punish conscientious objectors to the practice. Bird writes:

At times, euthanasia has even undermined access to palliative care. In British Columbia, a private hospice — a facility dedicated to caring for individuals nearing death — was shuttered last year after it conscientiously refused to offer euthanasia. Provincial authorities forced the hospice to close even after it proposed to operate without public funds, though it was reopened under direct public control.

It’s one thing to legalize euthanasia. It’s another thing to coerce people to get on board with it or get out of health care. This totalitarian approach which assumes that every citizen supports euthanasia is unbecoming of a free and democratic society that features a range of views on this topic. And if there is any sector of society where freedom of conscience should be robust, health care is it. The interests at stake — life, death, human dignity — demand nothing less.

Read the full article: Euthanasia is a runaway train in Canada. It’s time to hit the brakes.