Assisted Suicide debate masks disability prejudice

By Catherine Frazee

Catherine Frazee

Catherine Frazee

Today (Oct. 15), the Supreme Court of Canada will hear argument in an appeal which seeks to strike down Canada’s Criminal Code prohibition against assisting suicide.

The appeal is mobilized by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and supported by Death with Dignity advocates across the country, many of whom will take to the streets to urge Canadians to “stand on the side of history for assisted dying.”

But to whose history do they refer? We share most of a demographic profile — I’m a 60-plus boomer, white, middle-class, secular and accustomed to calling the shots in the domains of my daily life.

We also share an unwavering desire to see the very best of palliative care services realized under the Canada Health Act, for it is to our collective shame that, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, only 16 per cent to 30 per cent of Canadians currently have access to appropriate palliative and end-of-life care.

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