VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – We’re about to hear a lot more debate over whether Canadians should have the right to die, as an appeal of a previous ruling on the matter begins today.
Last June, the BC Supreme Court ruled Canada’s current laws barring assisted suicide were unconstitutional. That decision is now being appealed by the federal government.
For a lot of people, the court case is bringing up painful memories of when their own loved ones died.
Francoise Hebert of Toronto recalls the last three years of her mom’s life. She was, as Hebert describes it, wasting away from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, unable to eat or breathe on her own.
“She would have preferred to die sooner and peacefully,” says Hebert.
Hebert is now a member of Dying with Dignity because she feels her mother and people like her deserve an option to die when they want to, with the help of a doctor.
“We are talking about something that is compassionate and humane for somebody who is living a life that has become torture,” she explains.
“People whose minds are sharp and who are suffering greatly, and want to go peacefully, can’t do that. We don’t allow them to do that, and that’s criminal.”
She says a new law to govern physician assisted suicide would have safe guards, to make sure patients are of sound mind before deciding to end their lives.
Meanwhile, Hebert is tending to another sick loved one. The disease Hebert’s mom suffered from is genetic, and now she is watching her brother struggle with the same condition.