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End of Life

A man wearing an orange hardhat using a chainsaw to remove the top of a treeFell-swoop surrender, or slow death? In the human family, these are the stark choices presented in legal and ethical debates about assisted suicide. Like many disabled people, I have strong views on the issue. These are hinted at in my blog post Slow Death and the Felling of Trees“, but detailed more explicitly in these supplementary texts.

Opinion Pieces

Op Ed For Montréal Gazette – March 4, 2014, responding to Bill 52

Op Ed for Toronto Star – March 30, 2014, responding to the suicide of Edward Hung

Op Ed for Chronicle Herald – October 14, 2014, anticipating Supreme Court hearing on assisted suicide

Op Ed for Ottawa Citizen – October 14, 2014, anticipating Supreme Court hearing on assisted suicide

Video Recordings

Fireside Chat for the Nova Scotia Health Ethics Network, recorded on October 30, 2014 (31 minutes)

Luncheon Presentation to Canadian Parliamentarians, October 2, 2014. You may view the print version here.)

Legal Submissions

Expert Opinion Report for the Québec Superior Court, LeBlanc v. A.G. of Canada, September 2012

Background:

In the summer of 2012 I was retained by the Attorney General of Canada to prepare an opinion report for a Québec Superior Court case, LeBlanc v. A.G. of Canada. The case presented a constitutional challenge to Canada’s Criminal Code prohibitions against suicide assistance, but was never argued in court. Following the death of the plaintiff, Ginette LeBlanc, in February 2013, the case was withdrawn.

In this affadavit, I argue against the seductive logic of “fell-swoop” approaches to end-of-life circumstances. I am grateful to many colleagues, particularly members of the Values and Ethics Task Force of the Canadian Association for Community Living, who engaged with me in many intense and far-reaching conversations as my thinking on the issue of suicide assistance has evolved.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Audrey D. Cole #

    Like so many of us I dread the potentially threatening decision about which we could learn on Friday — a quick glance at the clock tells me that now means tomorrow! I would like to say that the potential threat drove me into potentially productive action! But, rather, it lead me to reflection and a re-reading of all your eloquent yet pointed comments (above) and, also, comments by others and even, I admit, some of my own contributions to the discourse. .And I still struggle to understand why it is that people who are now seeing the possibility of a change in law that would permit assisted suicide as the realization of some previously withheld fundamental right cannot also see the enormity of the threat to the truly fundamental right of people with disabilities to live with some confidence that they, too, are entitled to equality and respect – two components of life for which their fight never ends! You already know but I will repeat my personal gratitude for your contribution to the effort!

    Thank you,

    Audrey

    February 5, 2015

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