CBC news promotes expansion of Canada’s euthanasia law

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] news really can’t help themselves.

Last week CBC produced a one-sided report pressuring St. Martha’s hospital in Nova Scotia to participate in euthanasia. Thursday CBC promoted the expansion of euthanasia in Canada to include children, incompetent people, and for people with psychiatric conditions alone.

On December 12, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) released three reports regarding these three additional categories.

My concern is not with CBC reporting on euthanasia but rather their one-sided reporting. CBC will claim that they offered both sides by quoting representatives from the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Catholics and Evangelicals have valid positions, but CBC wants people to think that only religious people oppose killing children, incompetent people, or people with mental illness. (“Expanding access to medical assistance in death pits advocates against religious groups.”)

CBC interviewed a representative of the euthanasia lobby who focus on the Audrey Parker campaign to extend euthanasia to incompetent people who made an advanced request. Parker died on November 1, stating that she wanted to live longer but feared losing her right to die if she became incompetent.

The CCA report recognized the problem with euthanasia based on advanced request [AR]:

Allowing ARs for MAID [Medical Aid In Dying] could provide comfort and relieve anxiety and distress at end of life for people who want to receive MAID but are concerned about losing decision-making capacity prior to the procedure. However, removing a requirement for express consent immediately prior to the MAID procedure raises the possibility that a person might receive MAID against their wishes.

CBC then focuses on child euthanasia by interviewing Dr. Dawn Davies. Dr. Davies, who led the working group on euthanasia for “mature minors,” stated:

evidence shows that some minors could capably make the decision to end their own lives, while others could not — a situation common in youth health care across the board.

“That’s where practitioners need to be careful and focus their attention and really scrutinize the young person’s capacity to make a decision.”

The concept of child euthanasia is very unpopular in Canada.

The CBC article moved onto the issue of psychiatric euthanasia by emphasizing that people have decision making capacity unless it is determined otherwise. But euthanasia is not based on decision making capacity alone, but rather it requires that a person’s natural death must be foreseeable.

As I stated in my article, the CCA report was strongly negative to the idea of euthanasia for psychiatric reasons alone. It recognized that if Canada were to expand our euthanasia law in this manner, Canada would have the most liberal euthanasia policy in the world.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie told CBC news:

much more study and research must be done before Parliament makes any change to the law. Information from other jurisdictions can’t be compared to Canada, which is a distinct culture with different health services and its own set of values.

“It’s not clear that we have ways of measuring peoples’ capacity to make decisions that are robust enough so that we wouldn’t make mistakes one way or the other.”

CBC has promoted euthanasia for a long-time. Now that it is legal, it doesn’t surprise me that they would be promoting the expansion of the euthanasia law.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.