Friday, June 10, 2016

Boxed In. Canadians Don't Support Trudeau's Narrowed Assisted Dying Bill.

A large majority of Canadians, three out of four, favour the inclusion of "advanced directives" or "advanced consent" provisions in the Trudeau government's assisted dying law.

“Advanced directives” or “advance consent” became a particularly controversial aspect of the assisted-death debate after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last year the laws against the practice were unconstitutional. Such directives would allow someone with dementia or another degenerative diagnosis — while still in full capacity of his or her cognitive faculties — to sign a document requesting assisted death at a set point down the line. That could be defined in the order by a point in their illness or another predetermined metric.

A Forum Research survey of 2,271 Canadians on June 7 defined advance consent as “when someone leaves explicit legal instructions for their assisted death in the event they become incompetent and can’t make their wishes known themselves.”

It then asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of allowing assisted death for those who have signed advance consent, but may not be able to communicate their wishes?”

A full 74 per cent agreed, even slightly more than the 72 per cent who said they support assisted death.

“We have known for years Canadians favour assisted dying. It is clear from these findings that they don’t want to deny this right to those who can’t, in the end, speak for themselves” said Forum Research President Lorne Bozinoff.

It seems the prime minister and justice minister Jody are not only on the wrong side of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Senate of Canada and the terminally ill. They're also on the wrong side of mainstream public opinion. I guess that leaves them onside with only themselves and the cranks. Strange bedfellows.


Toby said...

Trudeau and his Ministers are sure ducking the tough issues. Who got to these guys?

We were so pumped to get rid of Harper that we elected a bunch of smiling bozos.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's inexplicable to me, Toby. I just checked out a CBC web story about the Senate amending the bill and the comments were almost universally supportive of bringing the law into accordance with the Carter decision.

Anonymous said...

I see Senate Con Leader Claude Carignan is now threatening to kill Bill C-14 if the House rejects Senate changes. I can't believe I'm saying this, but that Con senator's got it right.


The Mound of Sound said...

I'm wondering if Trudeau isn't wandering into a trap of his own making. The report on the Forum poll suggests that he's on the wrong side of the Canadian public on this. Perusing comments on the CBC and Globe web sites shows near universal support for the SCC decision and the Senate amendments. There's remarkably little of the standard fare partisan sniping either. People are actually addressing the issues and it's plain a number of his critics voted Liberal last year.

I think he tried it on, possibly with a lot of encouragement and assurances from his justice and health ministers, only to run into resistance at every turn. Does he think he can emerge the winner from a showdown with the Senate?

Mr. Trudeau's honeymoon with the Canadian people may be nearing its end.

Anonymous said...

That depends. He's shown himself willing to compromise before, having changed the composition of the committee on election reform to suit opposition parties. A similar compromise may save his bacon on this issue. Alternatively, if the Senate kills the bill, then we've got the abortion outcome - no federal law and a patchwork of provincial legislation. Either outcome may work for him.

OTOH, a protracted fight with the Senate may bring his honeymoon to an end. Apart from the bill's unconstitutionality, the polls show he hasn't made a convincing case that the SCC got it wrong and that his approach is right. Boomers aren't going to accept their parents dying with anything less than the options the SCC's given them.


crf said...

At this point it is hard to blame Trudeau: he has to delegate, to a certain point. I'd say it's so far been more a problem for the Justice Minister. However, if the cabinet digs in and doesn't reasonably accommodate any changes the Senate wishes to make to the bill, then that certainly that would be the PM's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Interesting stats: "A full 74 per cent agreed, even slightly more than the 72 per cent who said they support assisted death."
Looks like 2% of Canadians should be excluded from any polls and banned from voting too.

The Mound of Sound said...

If he and his ministers thought a compromise would be adequate, why didn't they just go with a reference to the SCC?

They must have known they would get bounced.

Fortunately the SCC decision in Carter is as straightforward as it is powerful. That all but eliminates the prospect of provincial appellate courts going their several ways to create a patchwork arrangement varying from one jurisdiction to the next.

If we wind up with no federal law, Carter will ensure that the provinces have to regulate in compliance with the Charter.