The Court ruled that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the rights of Canadians to death with dignity. Here are the operative passages of the Carter decision:
"It is a crime in Canada to assist another person in ending her own life. As a result, 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.
"We conclude that the prohibition on physician-assisted dying is void insofar as it deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition. We therefore allow the appeal."This is the part that Trudeau decided to overrule:
"The appropriate remedy is therefore a declaration that s. 241 (b) and s. 14 of the Criminal Code are void insofar as they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition. “Irremediable”, it should be added, does not require the patient to undertake treatments that are not acceptable to the individual. The scope of this declaration is intended to respond to the factual circumstances in this case."Trudeau fashioned his own law, in defiance of the Supreme Court of Canada, to stipulate that the individual must have a terminal condition and be likely to die within six months. That's not the law of Canada. That's the law of Trudeau. He did it knowing that there are certain diseases that will prevent the afflicted from communicating consent by the time they're on death's doorstep thus consigning them to a cruel death. He did it knowing that there are people who would be forced to endure inescapable intolerable suffering for years, decades, because of his whim.
The Court is clear - grievous and irremediable, not terminal and imminent.
And now a Nova Scotia woman, thanks entirely to Trudeau, is left with the cruel choice the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that none of us should have to face.
A Nova Scotia woman who is choosing a medically assisted death says she will end her life earlier than she really wants because she's worried doctors will deny her the procedure if she loses her mental capacity to consent before that time arrives.
In order to be eligible, a person must have a serious illness, be in an advanced state of decline, be experiencing unbearable suffering and be at a point where a natural death has become reasonably foreseeable.
They also have to be mentally competent and able to consent — not only at the time of their request, but again immediately before the assisted-dying procedure.
Audrey Parker, who has been approved for a medically assisted death, says those rules are unfair and extreme.
"I think once I've signed the papers and have agreed, it should stand. But I still have to worry that if I lose my marbles, that they won't do it. And then I'm going to die poorly," said Parker.
She worries the cancer on her brain may cause her to lose cognitive capacity, which would mean doctors could deny her a medically assisted death when the time comes.
It's a risk she's not willing to take, so she has taken the drastic step of choosing to die earlier.
"We know that these cases do exist and they shouldn't," said former senator Jim Cowan, now chair of Dying with Dignity Canada's board of directors.
Cowan is calling on the federal government to amend the legislation to permit advance requests. He also points out that sometimes medication is so powerful, it impacts a person's mental capacity.
"In order to qualify for medical assistance in dying, those drugs have to be withdrawn from the individual, and the suffering returns, along with the capacity," he said. "That just seems inhumane to me."Parker's death is now scheduled for 1 November at her home with her mother at her side.
This government loves to pretend that it's compassionate and highly moral. Audrey Parker's premature death reminds us, yet again, that it's neither.