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I am of the opinion that Canada should have legal euthanasia.

Death is not a pleasant subject. People feel uncomfortable thinking about it. It is likely that each one of us will contact a deadly disease and die from the symptoms. It is the symptoms of these diseases that are more frightening than death.

The Netherlands legalized euthanasia last year. The Royal Dutch Medical Association welcomed the law and said it formalized in law the mercy killing procedures that had been used by doctors for 20 years in the Netherlands. The Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Society's figures from 1995 show there were 3,600 deaths from euthanasia or assisted suicide that year. Latest figures from euthanasia organizations show that Dutch doctors helped 2,216 patients to die in 1999. Their euthanasia law set out strict guidelines that insisted adult patients - facing a future of unremitting and unbearable suffering - must make a voluntary, well-considered and lasting request to die before euthanasia is possible. The doctor must have previously told the patient about his or her situation and prospects, and reached the firm conclusion there was no reasonable alternative. A second physician must be consulted and the life must be ended in a medically appropriate way. This law avoids the possibility of doctors being prosecuted for murder.

We like to think that we are free here in Canada but we are not free to die. Freedom is not necessarily nice and comfortable. Here in Canada euthanasia is illegal. Assisted suicide is illegal. Mercy killing is illegal. Doctors claim that virtually all pain can be eliminated. That virtually means that all pain cannot be eliminated. A few tragic Canadians have already come face to face with this issue. Austin Bastable of Windsor, a multiple sclerosis victim died assisted by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Sue Rodriguez suffered from Lou Gehrigs disease but located a doctor willing to help her end the suffering. Despite the law and those adamantly opposed to euthanasia, these two Canadians used euthanasia to end it all. But there are thousands of other Canadians who may want to use euthanasia but cannot because of the law.

Euthanasia is anathema to our political parties. The majority of politicians would rather put themselves through a shredder than make a decision about euthanasia. Those who come face to face with the issue, such as Sue Sue Rodriguez and Austin Bastable are caught in the trap between prolonged pain and approaching death.

Euthanasia should be legal. People who are trapped in a deadly disease do not have the influence or the power to persuade those in power to think about it. They just die.
Should Canadians have a referendum on euthanasia?

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