The Corner

Religious Liberty Under Lethal Attack in Canada

Canada is on the verge of forcing religious medical institutions to allow euthanasia in their facilities — which will soon be a “right” in Canada for the sick, disabled, and virtually anyone with a medically diagnosed condition that causes irremediable suffering (as defined by patients, not doctors).

This would seem to be a direct violation of the Canada Charter of Rights and Freedom. Here is the first stated enumerated freedom in the Charter:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

But the culture of death brooks no dissent.

Euthanasia advocates, no longer having to pretend the only want a limited license, want to force Catholic and other religiously affiliated hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes to violate their faith dogma and permit doctors to kill on premises. From the story:

Hospitals that receive public funding have an obligation to offer legal health services, including doctor-assisted death, says a member of the provincial-territorial expert advisory group on physician-assisted dying.

Jocelyn Downie, a Dalhousie University law professor and expert on end-of-life law and policy, said provinces and territories should withhold funding from public institutions that refuse to offer legal health services on their premises, or a reasonable option for transfer. “If you get public funding, you as an institution have an obligation to provide legal health services. I think we need to confront that,” Downie said.

That’s a heads we win, tails the institutions lose — and so do the people of Canada, which would lose valuable medical resources, already scarce in that country.

You see, Canada has socialized, single-payer health care. Almost all medical institutions receive public funding as private-pay medical treatment is not permitted. Indeed, that’s why well off Canadians “skip the queue” and fly to the USA for medical treatment rather than wait months waiting for surgery or testing.

But a federal-government legislative panel charged with forging the court-ordered euthanasia bill in Canada has also opined that the spine of religious freedom in Canada should be snapped in the cause of euthanasia.

The only option to retain religious liberty in Canada is conscientious and implacable resistance. One Catholic system has courageously engaged that witness:

Officials with Ottawa’s Bruyère Continuing Care and other Catholic health institutions in the province say they will not offer doctor-assisted death or “directly or explicitly” refer patients to receive the procedure elsewhere.

“Should a request for physician-assisted death occur in our organizations, we will not abandon the person in our care,” said The Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario in a statement about physician-assisted death. “We believe that supporting these patients who are vulnerable with a non-judgmental, non-coercive approach will assist them to question their request for assisted death and to explore other alternative forms of medical care.”

The Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario administers 21 publicly funded Catholic health institutions, including Bruyère, which is Ottawa’s second-largest hospital and the only one with a ward devoted to palliative care.

Stick to that! The Canadian Supreme Court radically changed the ethics of medicine. That shouldn’t trump the enumerated right to freedom of religion and conscience — or Canada is no longer free.


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