In February of 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada deemed that provisions in the Criminal Code restricting assisted suicide were unconstitutional as they prevent medical practitioners from aiding in the death of another person who chooses to die.
The court felt that the law was too broad. Its perception was capable adults should have the ability to make personal choices regarding their health care when their medical circumstance is incurable and irreversible.
The court, however, left the burden of formulating legislation to address their ruling to the House of Commons and the Senate, stating that the new law would need to be cautious in implementing exact and strict boundaries and restraints for the safeguard and protection of vulnerable individuals.
It seems a Pandora’s Box has been opened. The very ‘vulnerable individuals’ the Supreme Court was so adamant to protect are now at risk by the evolved assisted suicide legislation that the government wants to release in March of 2024. The plan is to increase the inclusion eligibility to those who are experiencing mental illness only.
Death is a final act. It is not reversible. With proper support, many who suffer from mental illness can live fruitful, meaningful lives. Our response must be to ensure appropriate mental health care and supports are available, rather than to offer hastened death.
MP Ed Fast has tabled Bill C-314. It states that a mental disorder is not incurable or irreversible and therefore people with mental disorder alone should not be included with the list of persons eligible for MAiD.
Many believe it is part of the role of government to protect the vulnerable. From delivering high-quality health care to eradicating poverty, society looks to the government as leaders in this function. As values continue to change in our culture, defining vulnerability and appropriate actions becomes complicated. It is so necessary that we continue to pray for our government leaders. We may not always agree or even like their ideas and policies, but we are mandated by Heaven to pray for them.
· Pray that they would be stirred to call upon the everlasting God for guidance.
· Pray that they would receive the revelation of Jesus.
· Pray that they would be strengthened in integrity and have moral convictions that align with God’s Word.
· Pray that they would have insight to recognize consequences of choices they make, in the present as well as in the future.
· Pray that through their various views and beliefs, they would be able to work together for the good of our nation.
The church must also take a position in working to protect the vulnerable in our communities. We have used the acronym, MAiL a few times now. It is our counter to MAiD. My Assistance in Living brings it right to our own front doors. What can we as individual Christians do to help? We have already discussed prayer in the previous paragraph. Prayer is absolutely a powerful tool in our arsenal but not the only tool.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”
It is good to pray for the poor and the vulnerable but that can’t be all we offer.
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless…”
What we see happening in our country does not fall exclusively at the feet of government.
Jesus wants our faith expressed in good works, especially to the ones who can’t repay us.
Many local churches and parachurch ministries have outreach to the vulnerable, the poor, and the marginalized. Perhaps God is calling us to volunteer at one of these organizations.
Undoubtedly, we have neighbours who need to be loved on - Seniors, new immigrants, single parents and people experiencing loss. There are many life events that trigger mental illness. When we infuse ourselves into our communities, we will have eyes to see the needs.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”