Tagged: Parliament

Assisted Death or Hospice

Yesterday several bombs blasted in Brussels. Today a carillon rang out with the tune to John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Designed to bring hope and peace to a beleaguered city – in reality it serves just the opposite. John Lennon was just as the song says, a dreamer, one who lives apart from reality. No god “no heaven”, “no religion too”, “Nothing to kill or die for”, “no possessions”, “No need for greed or hunger”, by John Lennon’s own words – No Hope.

Over the past several decades this has become society’s mantra; “Imagine all the people Living for today…” Forget tomorrow, it doesn’t get any better. You are right and nobody has the right to tell you differently. They are the ones “wrong” about the way of life, wrong about God. This is your reality. “You have it all”. Except – you don’t and you know it but, there is nothing better, “that’s what the man says”(Paul McCartney), in other words there is “No Hope”.

Over the past several decades suicide rates in Canada have increased by 60% overall, but for some segments of society it is becoming epidemic. Why? There is “No Hope”. Attempted suicides have increased three fold and only by medical intervention has the actual suicide rate not gone higher. Most suicides have “attempted” several times before achieving death, suggesting a cry for help rather than a real wish to die. Has society, then failed these people? Failed to give them hope, something to live for? But society can’t and won’t counsel against its mantra.

Over the next several months Parliament is bound by the Supreme Court to pass a law on doctor assisted suicide. Call it what you prefer, Assisted Death,, Euthanasia, End of Life Law, it all amounts to the patient dying before the natural course of death. It all amounts to bringing on an end where there is no hope. When we consider the man who recently lost his job, his house, his wife and kids and has now drowning his sorrows in booze and thinks of suicide for his relief, is his life’s future all that different than the one who is terminally ill?

Where is the hope among Aboriginal people and communities where there are serious concerns about mental illness and social ills such as substance abuse, addiction, violence and suicide. European culture is an imposition to indigenous culture and imposes the loss of lifestyle and self-determination and is seen as a major cause of health and social problems within the indigenous population. What is the vision for hope among many Aboriginal youth? What is their future?

There is still much hope for the terminally ill – it is called Hospice. Doing all we as society can for the patient to bring a peaceful and comfortable end of life most often at home with family and friends. The problem with hospice, it costs money and therefore seen as an intrusion on society in general. “Can’t afford it” is the budgetary cry of all institutions. Assisted Death is the less expensive option. Most medical institutions and doctors have introduced the “Living Will” to protect themselves and suggested the patient voluntarily restrict ‘heroic’ medical measures in severe cases.

What does it say for our government to condone, to pass a law making legal the nu-natural end of life measures of  Physician-assisted Suicide. Does it not say to members of society in distress, “Society expects you to do the right thing, end it” after all, as we have said all along – there is NO HOPE.

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Senate Appointments

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that he will recommend the appointment of seven new Senators to the Governor General.

A Senate Seat

A Senate Seat

The new, independent Senators will fill two vacancies in Manitoba, three in Ontario, and two in Quebec.

There is a new process announced by the Trudeau government for appointing senators to the upper house. The process is aimed at restoring the Senate to its intended role as an independent chamber of sober second thought. PM Trudeau has appointed a five-member advisory board which is to recommend to the prime minister a short list of five names for each Senate vacancy. Reforming the Senate has been a campaign promise of every political party since Confederation. Talk on the role and form of the Senate has been recurring periodically ever since. Every party, every politician can see the necessity of Senate reform but none ever introduces any meaningful legislation to do so and hence Senate reform remains a promise only and a continual haggling and waste of Parliament’s time.

What are the problems and complaints about the Senate.  Preston Manning said, “Canada’s Senate is a political science experiment gone wrong”. Perhaps the biggest complaint about the Senate is that, because it is unelected, it is undemocratic. Many Senate appointments are party supporters and cohorts of the Prime Minister of the day. If a prime minister is in power for several terms, the Senate can becomes increasingly partisan.

The Senate has become a source of scandal over expenses and cover-up. It has become obvious that the Senate requires a higher level of accountability, term limits imposed and method to make it less partisan so that it can become the house of Second Sober Thought that it was created to be.

Barring a proper and appropriate make over, many feel that the Senate should just be abolished and save the millions of dollars per year the Senate costs to operate.

Personally, I believe Canada needs the Senate as long as it can be run non-partisan or at least representative. “No nation should be under unchecked, single-chamber government … It must also be remembered that, under our system, the power of the Cabinet tends to grow at the expense of the House of Commons … The Senate is not so much a check on the House of Commons as it is upon the Cabinet, and there can be no doubt that its influence in this respect is salutary.” (Sir Clifford Sifton, “The New Era in Canada”: 1917)

Will the PMs appointment board work to allay peoples doubts? – Remains to be seen. What is your thought?