Governance Health Human rights Justice Population

Now that assisted suicide and euthanasia is legal, what Canadians can expect: Literature review

The arbitrary second deadline set by the Supreme Court of Canada for the coming into force of its arbitrary and senseless decision to invalidate Criminal Code protections against assisted suicide and euthanasia has arrived. Unless further extended, as of today Canadians wishing to commit suicide but too squeamish to do so themselves can take a shot at finding a doctor to kill them.

While the government will likely make the case for pushing through its proposed legislation, Bill C-14 a.k.a. the Medical Assistance in Dying Bill, it will have little practical effect. While presented as taking a conservative approach by only allowing individuals whose “death is reasonably foreseeable” to consent to being killed, Bill C-14 contemplates extending such consent to “mature minors” and those with mental illness within less than 180 days after it’s passed.

So what can Canadians expect to flow from this ill-considered decision to legalise consent to being killed? Unfortunately, a review of the literature in jurisdictions that legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia prior to Canada isn’t encouraging.

Governance Health Human rights Justice Population

Bill C-14, an assisted suicide and euthanasia law by any other name

Canadian Members of Parliament are set to vote on Bill C-14, also known as the Medical Assistance in Dying Bill. The bill will repeal numerous legal protections against assisted suicide and euthanasia in the Criminal Code, in line with 2012 Supreme Court of Britisch Columbia and  2015  Supreme Court of Canada decisions that found such protections unconstitutional. Notably, both Parliament and the courts have reversed course on previous decisions that upheld the constitutionality of those same legal protections under nearly identical circumstances.

Bill C-14 has been promoted by the federal government as taking a conservative approach, only allowing assistance in cases where “death is reasonably foreseeable” and implementing “safeguards” against abuse. However, as written it clearly contemplates broadly legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia, even for “mature minors” and those with mental illness.

Conspicuously absent from the debate has been any discussion about the experience with similar legislation in the United States and European Union, where both legal and medical reviews have been decidedly critical, second-guessing the wisdom of even having such legislation. That’s likely because the rationale for such laws, the topic to be covered here, is questionable at best.

Civil liberties Human rights Justice

The sorry state of Canadian civil liberties: Quebec police hit cyclist, run him over, twice, killing him… for going wrong-way on one-way

Guy Blouin ID’d as cyclist run over by Quebec City police car
Witness says he saw cruiser run over man twice; bicycle and police car moved from scene by officers
CBC News, September 4, 2014

Can’t wait to read about how the officers got away without murder charges, on account they couldn’t reasonably have foreseen that running over a human being, twice, with a police cruiser, could kill them.

You can be sure their union, the Police Brotherhood, will do its utmost to see to it these thugs not only get away with murder, but that they don’t even lose their jobs, if a day’s pay. Remember that the next time you see one of these camo-pantsed fools protesting.

Update 10/09/2014

The story’s made it to VICE magazine

A recent cop-related fatality has revealed the flaws in Quebec’s police review system
Simon Van Vliet, VICE  September 10, 2014

To paraphrase Johnnie Cochrane (of O.J. trial fame): “Who police the police?” As VICE points out, in Quebec, the police police the police. And apparently, they have a hard time finding fault with themselves:

Over the past 15 years, there have been on average 30 people a year who died or were seriously injured in police operations in Quebec. Police-led investigations have resulted in accusations against police officers in less than one percent of cases.

Civil liberties Foreign policy Governance Human rights Media

Foreign policy failure: Canada (once again) isolated in refusal to acknowledge, condemn Israeli war crimes

Israel/Gaza: Attack on UN school in Gaza a potential war crime that must be investigated - Amnesty International July 30, 2014
Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations - Amnesty International July 21, 2014 Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers - Amnesty International July 25, 2014
Here at the #RallyForIsrael in Ottawa with my Liberal colleague @MarcGarneau - standing in solidarity w/ Israel. - @HonJohnBaird July 16, 2014

UNRWA Strongly condemns Israeli shelling of its school in Gaza as serious violation of international law

United Nations Relief and Works Agency, July 30, 2014

The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times, to ensure its protection; the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.

This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed.

 For other UNRWA announcements, see the UNRWA Official Statements page. Notably, these latest Israeli war crimes come on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The ICJ found Israel’s construction of the Wall contrary to international law, and advised Israel to cease construction and dismantle sections it had already erected.

Israel ignored the ICJ opinion, as it has ignored every UN decision critical of its nearly seven decades of illegal dispossession / subjugation of the Palestinian people and military occupation of their homeland — and there have been many.

Effectively, the current state of Israel persists contrary to international law. That – and not any single recent event – is and continues to be the root cause of the perpetual conflict in the Middle East.

The photo of “Bought and Paid-for” above speaks to the source of Canada’s misguided Middle East policy — and the cynicism of its politicians. Federal MP and supposed Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Marc Garneau makes a point of promoting his involvement with UNICEF Canada and his support of the UN Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the Child. As far as we know, Palestinian children are entitled to the same rights and protections. Hopefully UNICEF takes up the matter with Mr. Garneau and other cynical Canadian politicians who claim to support the organisation and its mission yet have turned a blind eye to the suffering and targeted killing of Palestinian civilians, nearly a quarter of whom were children.

In closing, the linked BBC Channel 4 news clips show reporters asking tough questions of both sides and deflecting spin to get to the facts – a reminder to Canadians of what journalism is supposed to look like (lookin’ at you, The Canadian Press). Also noteworthy are Debunking Israel’s 11 Main Myths About Gaza, Hamas and War Crimes from Huffington Post UK and Terrorism in the Israeli Attack on Gaza by Glenn Greenwald writing for The Intercept.

Civil liberties Foreign policy Human rights Justice Media

The sorry state of Canadian civil liberties: Where facts can be disputed as hate crimes, and vice versa – by the same group


The map montage pictured above is a hate crime, according to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. Why/how you may ask? Apparently it is provocative and incites hatred and contempt (PDF). Four time-lapsed maps, a statistic and a two-word descriptor. Seems fairly innocuous.

If anything, one would think a story accusing another nationality of starting the next Holocaust would be more worthy of being labeled a hate crime, especially if it turned out to be false. But the good people at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center didn’t denounce that story as a hate crime. That’s because the Simon Wiesenthal Center was busy promoting and perpetuating that possible hate crime.