We will continue resisting euthanasia

By Charles Lewis

There may be a tendency to give up now that the fight against legalized euthanasia has ended. We now have euthanasia in this country. With or without a law it's here. We tried to stop it and so we lost that battle. Notice I wrote we lost the battle and not the war. 

Bill C14 as is or whatever warped form it takes on is an evil. It's not a bit evil, or somewhat evil or even mainly evil. It's fully evil. There is nothing good about it. It offends human decency. We know this. That's why we've been fighting. So on that score nothing has changed.

At the end of the day it can be resisted. The worst thing anyone can do now, anyone who has been involved in the anti-euthanasia cause, would be to give up. This law does not have to be respected. And just because it offers and supports medical murder that doesn't mean we have to avail ourselves of it. Nor should we sit by while those we know decide to end their lives in such a barbaric manner.

Here is the problem as I see it: There is a strong core of us who will never accept euthanasia. We refused to cooperate with the government in the law's development. Our hands our clean. But we have inherited a huge responsibility. 

Link to the full article

Some thoughts on a drive through traffic hell to rail against euthanasia.

By Charles Lewis

Many of you know I have been doing speeches against euthanasia since retiring from the National Post in January 2014. Most also know that I have a very painful spinal issue that limits my activities.

So it was with some trepidation that I agreed, many months ago, to speak at a dinner in Cambridge Ontario. I figured by the time it rolled around I would be feeling much better.

I was so wrong.

But a promise is a promise so on a recent Thursday I headed out to Cambridge west down the dreaded 401. What should have taken 70 minutes with no traffic or two hours with some traffic turned into three-and-a-half hours of misery. Then to add to the fun I got lost. Urbanites like myself do not do well with regional roads.

In the directions I was given I was told turn left at the bottom of a hill at a Canadian Tire gas bar. Guess what? There are a many Canadian Tire gas bars and many hills. So at some point, in pain and with a throbbing headache from said pain, I ended up in Guelph. I don't own a cell phone but I figured I'd be able to use a phone at a gas station or find a pay phone. Guess what? No one likes to let you use his or her phones for fear you'll call your Oma in Berlin or you favourite Aunt in Hong Kong. And, as I discovered, there are no pay phones.

Finally some good soul took pity on me and lent me his cell phone. The connection was so bad that I couldn't hear what was being said so I finally broke down babbling and yelling that I would never make it. It wasn't one of my proudest moments but every once in a while I cut myself a break.

Someone standing by where I was yelling heard me mention the conference centre. He gave me simple directions and miracle of miracle I did find the right Canadian Tire at the bottom of the right hill.

By the time I arrived at the conference centre I was in massive pain and sweating. As I got out of the car, hobbled, I thought that there was no way I can pull this off. Though I did.

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EPC needs you to contact Members of Parliament

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights will be hearing interventions concerning Bill C-14, the bill that will legalize and “regulate” euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) will be presenting to the committee next week. We will be represented by: Amy Hasbrouck (EPC – VP), Hugh Scher (EPC – Legal Counsel) and Dr Will Johnston (Chair of EPC – BC). 

Several MP's have said that they are receiving more communication from members of the euthanasia lobby than from our supporters. 

EPC needs you to contact members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with your concerns about Bill C-14.

Resources for your communicating with committee members:

Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Alex Schadenberg.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by the Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Dr Will Johnston (EPC - BC).
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Charles Lewis.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Andrew Coyne.
Link to the article on Bill C-14 by Amy Hasbrouck (Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet).

Committee Chair: Anthony Housefather (Lib) - Anthony.Housefather@parl.gc.ca
Committee Vice Chair: Ted Falk (CPC) - Ted.Falk@parl.gc.ca
Committee Vice Chair: Murray Rankin (NDP) - Murray.Rankin@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Chris Bittle (Lib) - Chris.Bittle@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Michael Cooper (CPC) - Michael.Cooper@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Colin Fraser (Lib) - Colin.Fraser@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Ahmed Hussen (Lib) - Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Iqra Khalid (Lib) - Iqra.Khalid@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Ron McKinnon (Lib) - Ron.McKinnon@parl.gc.ca
Committee Member: Hon. Rob Nicholson (CPC) - rob.nicholson@parl.gc.ca

EPC also encourages you to send letters to your Members of Parliament. Link to contact your Member of Parliament.

You can mail letters to Members of Parliament (Postage Free) by sending letters to:

(Name) Member of Parliament
House of Commons
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0A6

Charles Lewis: Resist falling prey to a system of legalized murder

By Charlie Lewis

Most everyone has heard of the notion that if you put myriad monkeys in a room with typewriters, pens, paper and computers eventually one of our simian friends would produce a work akin to Hemingway, St. Augustine or Judith Krantz. 

I think what they would end up with would be closer to Bill C-14, the Liberal government's bill on euthanasia and assisted suicide— or as I call it, killing of patients — released Thursday.

As Kelly McParland wrote in the National Post, the only beneficiaries will be lawyers who should be able to buy a beautiful cottage or two from the legal fees that will be generated by the confusion generated by this bill.

It raises so many questions you wonder whether adults wrote it or their young progeny during a “bring your kids to work” day. The bill is so unclear it leaves open critical questions: Who will be considered terminal? Will a physician have the right to exercise his or her conscience and refuse to refer a patient to someone who would kill him or her? Does it allow for non-medical personnel to administer the poison? 

Try to figure this cryptic clue about who is eligible: 

“[N]atural death has become reasonably foreseeable (precise proximity to death is not required).”

No one can define what “reasonably foreseeable means” and nor could anyone of average intelligence or greater even begin to unravel the clause that “precise proximity to death is not required.”

The one good thing we can say about Bill C-14 is that it has upset activists on both sides of the debate. That would normally be good politics because it demonstrates independent thinking on the part of the government and a refusal to pander. But in this case the government does not deserve credit.

This bill is simply inept. It does not follow the odious recommendations of its own fact-finding committee and nor does it follow the Supreme Court of Canada decision of February 2015 which declared our ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia void.

For example, the court decision allowed for the killing of psychiatric patients and those with non-fatal chronic pain. The government follows none of this.

We who have fought against the killing of patients should be happy, right? We appear to have won some battles, right?

For the most part we are not happy at all.

Most of us have said for years that any bill will be a starting point for greater calamity. A conservative, restrictive bill would grow over time as citizens became more used to it, which was the case in Holland and Belgium. A few years ago the doctor who was the architect of Quebec's euthanasia law said the province's effort was just a beginning and over time the law would encompass more ailments and younger patients. It was awful to hear but at least honest.

Now we have been left with a mess. A good lawyer, Supreme Court decision in hand, will easily be able to challenge the "restrictions" in the new law and crush them like a bug.

For those of us fighting the killing of patients our job will be harder. My fear is that even anti-euthanasia audiences will start to think this bill is really not so bad and that the government seemed to have listened to our concerns.

That is delusional.

The bill is the way it is because of incompetence. It leaves a giant legal vacuum in which any "violation" of the bill will easily be contested because the language is so vague. 

We are going to have at some point a law that will be much broader than what the government has proposed. It may take a few years but it will happen. In the meantime, many more Canadian will buy into the lie that Bill C-14 is a perfect compromise that is safe and responsible. 

By the time the law allows children, psychiatric patients and those who are simply tired of life to end their lives with state approval and assistance most Canadian will have been lulled into a false sense of safety and simply will not notice as the beast grows.

At least a clear bill would have made it easier to fight. It might have alarmed enough people who would have resisted falling prey to a system of legalized murder. Who would have thought this government would have been this sneaky?

Charlie Lewis writes a regular column for the Catholic Register and is a former reporter for the National Post

It is impossible to support euthanasia of any kind

By Charlie Lewis:

A good friend of mine, asked me tonight via email about what she should pray for in current euthanasia battle in Canada. She wondered whether we should pray for the most restrictive legislation possible or should we pray that the very notion of legalized killing should vanish — in other words, a miracle.

Of course, a miracle would be great. Even more miraculous would be to see all pro-euthanasia politicians, some real enthusiasts for medicalized death, suddenly change their minds.

I have become entrenched in my own position against euthanasia. Not because I am stubborn but I find it impossible to support euthanasia of any kind. It goes against everything I believe in. To try to help craft a "safe" bill, or even pray for a safe bill, would haunt me forever. I may not be able to stop the inevitable but I can ease my own conscience by not going along. 

So here is roughly what I told her:

We should keep praying and working towards its destruction. Cardinal Thomas Collins appeared before the parliamentary committee that is attempting to craft a safe law. He refused to help them. He kept repeating euthanasia is wrong. The committee members were frustrated. But who cares. They are acting as the agents of death.

To my mind, you cannot oppose euthanasia and at the same time help craft a safe law. It would be like being against the death penalty but seeing nothing wrong in designing a painless noose or a quicker, more efficient poison to send a prisoner on his way to the next world.

Link to the full article

Charlie Lewis: Why I oppose assisted suicide

By Charlie Lewis

For those who know me or have heard me speak against assisted suicide and euthanasia, you will be familiar with my struggle with spinal problems. I realize that my testimony about my own experience with horrific pain was fair game to use in my arguments against legalized euthanasia, given that legalized killing in this country would also include those with chronic pain.

Pain is universal. It is almost a common denominator of our humanity. Some lucky few will escape the worst of it or will only be plagued for a short time. For me it is now four years and counting. During that time I was forced to leave my beloved newspaper, The National Post, and my position as religion reporter — the greatest beat I had during my 33 years in journalism. And with that I lost the addictive camaraderie of the newsroom.

I was forced to cease nearly every activity I loved: cycling, hiking in the Rockies and moderate consumption of beer and wine — as well as the odd glass of bourbon or single malt scotch. The decision to stop drinking was not my own choice but the reality that after taking morphine every day it is simply too dangerous to consume alcohol.

None of these things should elicit pity. But my condition, along with two surgeries, knocked me into a world I did not expect to visit for many more years.

Pain is isolating. It can play mental tricks on you. It can make you sick to your stomach on some days and cause long bouts of insomnia. And then there is the isolation and the overriding feeling of worthlessness when you are no longer vital and creative.

In the Netherlands and Belgium those with chronic pain, as well as those with depression and other forms of mental illness, can qualify for state-sanctioned suicide. It appears from the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision of last February, when the Court ruled on assisted suicide and by extension euthanasia, that it will not only be the dying who will be granted the wish to die from a physician’s needle.

Link to the full article

Lewis: Challenging religious leaders to do more

Cardinal von Galen fought the    Nazi euthanasia program.

Cardinal von Galen fought the
Nazi euthanasia program.

This article is the opinion of Charlie Lewis.

Our religious leaders are missing something. I might dare to say they are failing. They are forgetting that shouting is needed in the midst of a disaster. It is sometimes the only solution when no one seems to be listening.

We are now in the home stretch of attempting to keep euthanasia illegal, which given the indications is not likely. Nor will it end if we lose. There will be much work to be done to make euthanasia irrelevant. But that will come later.

For now, Quebec has already put the needle in at least one person's arm. They killed a patient even though our Criminal Code says it is illegal. Instead our federal government, under both Harper and now Trudeau, coming down like a ton of bricks on Quebec they have remained silent. 

Let me correct that. Harper remained silent but Trudeau has been encouraging, essentially saying to the Quebec's pro-euthanasia ghouls that we support your right to murder.

So now is the time for the yelling to start. Now is the time for an uncompromising reaction to what is surely the most indecent thing our country will have ever done.

Link to the full article