Q: What kind of government says, "I don't care if you have a Charter right, even a right to die humanely. I'm taking it away from you. I'm denying your right to a humane death. It will be the alternative death for you - protracted and unbearable."
A: The Trudeau government. It has decided that the Rule of Law, the foundation of constitutional democracy, is optional and is to be set aside when it confounds the will of government.
Or that would be the situation if the Trudeau government had its way. And if you ever wondered why Canadians trust their judges and their doctors far more than their politicians, Liberal or Conservative, that's a great place to begin.
Fortunately our trust is not misplaced. Our judges have the courage and integrity our political caste so woefully lacks. We can see that in reading the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in the Carter case. We witnessed it in the decision of Chris Hinkson, Chief Justice of British Columbia in an assisted dying case earlier this week.
We also have some journalists, such as CBC's Neil Macdonald, capable of seeing through the Trudeau government's dodgy pretences.
Parliament ...will almost certainly go on arguing long after June 6 about who should be allowed an assisted death, and who shouldn't, and how sick you should be before society allows it, and how much time you should have left before you qualify, and how clear your mind should be, and whether anyone should have such a right in any event, because really, shouldn't it be God's decision?
That of course is what parliamentarians do. They can and should talk for as long as they see fit; years, if necessary.
Politicians are notoriously unable to decide such matters, and given the option, will discuss them indefinitely, and given a deadline, will likely miss it, which Parliament is in the process of doing right now with the government's bill to regulate medical assistance in dying.
Happily, it doesn't matter. Because the nine learned, fearless jurists a few doors down Wellington Street have once again made the tough decisions.
Absent some new law from Parliament, the existing criminal prohibition on helping someone commit suicide is null and void as of June 6, struck down as unconstitutional.
In part, the high court ruled that under the criminal prohibition, "people who are grievously and irremediably ill cannot seek a physician's assistance in dying and may be condemned to a life of severe and intolerable suffering. A person facing this prospect has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel."
This drew the usual howls of "judicial activism" from conservatives.
Actually, the justices were doing their job.
Courts are supposed to decide whether laws offend the Constitution. The Supremes decided the ban on assisted suicide did. And that's that.
A previous generation of high judges did exactly the same thing in 1988, when they struck down the old Criminal Code restriction on abortion, ruling it "manifestly unfair," creating so many barriers that abortion was effectively unavailable even to women who legally qualified for one.
As it did with the assisted dying law, the court gave Parliament the option of creating a new, constitutional law, which of course Parliament tried and failed to do.
The result: Abortion became just another medical treatment, a matter between a woman and her doctor, with government out of the picture. Just as assisted dying will almost certainly be as of June 6.
Doctors, after all, are responsible, self-regulating professionals, governed by quasi-judicial panels of their peers, who enforce ethics and standards of practices. For better or worse, democratic society trusts its doctors, just as it trusts its judges.
And thank Odin we still have those we can trust with our freedoms, our lives, and our right to die humanely. I'm sorry, Liberals. You can just keep polishing that turd in your hand as long as you like but, when you stop, it's still going to be a turd and it'll still be in your hand.
Update - There has been a lot of opinion expressed that reflects a poor grasp of the case and the Court's decision. Bear in mind this wasn't some close call, a 5-4 split for example. This was a per curiam decision. It was unanimous, 9-0. The entire court spoke with one voice.
For those who would like to read it, here's a link to the Carter v. Canada (AG) decision. Read it, let it sink in, and then come to your own conclusions about how the Trudeau government has chosen to try to get out from under it.