“Ottawa, my dear, to interview a BQ MP.”
“I thought it was only Liberals you enjoyed torturing?”
“No, I’m just trying to change the course of history.”
“Good luck, dear.”
The next day, after arriving in Ottawa, I inquired: “Is this the office of Francine Lalonde, the BQ member for La Pointe-de-l’Ille?”
“Yes, what can I do for you?” asked an attractive young woman in a business suit sitting at her desk in the Parliament Buildings. “I’m Miss Fornier, her administrative assistant.”
“My name is Frank Kennedy. I was hoping to see Mrs. Lalonde about a project our committee had in mind. Is she the MP who introduced Bill C-384, a law to amend the Criminal Code so as to allow for a right to die?”
“Yes, Mr. Kennedy, but Mrs. Lalonde is not in. You must have an appointment, but maybe I can help you. What is your project?”
“Miss Fornier, we’re in the process of forming an ad hoc committee to see if we can obtain a Nobel prize for Francine Lalonde.”
“You are?” she said, startled. “How are you planning to go about that?”
“I’m going to have to learn a lot more about Mrs. Lalonde’s goals and aspirations if we’re going to anticipate any success.”
“Oh, I agree,” said Fornier. “Sit down, Mr. Kennedy. Can I get you a cup of tea?” I sat down, but declined the cup of tea.
“I know Mrs. Lalonde’s position on these issues,” said Fornier. “I’m authorized to speak for her.”
“Does Mrs. Lalonde believe in equality under the law?” I asked.
“Oh yes, certainly!” said Fornier.
“Why does Mrs. Lalonde in Bill C-384 state that a person must be at least 18 years old to be a candidate for euthanasia? This sounds like age discrimination to me.”
“I presume, Mr. Kennedy, that Mrs. Lalonde considered that you become an adult at 18.”
“Is that so?” I said. “How come you can get a licence to drive a car at 16?”
“Mrs. Lalonde didn’t want to be accused of allowing young people under 18 to seek euthanasia if they were depressed.”
“Young people: no. Old people: yes. Miss Fornier, doesn’t that sound like you’re discriminating on the basis of age?” I asked.
“It’s the elderly people we are trying to help who are seeking a way out of their pain and distress,” said Fornier.
“Have they never heard of palliative care?” I asked. “There have been great strides made in the past 30 years in pain containment. Where have these people been living – in the catacombs? Why doesn’t Francine Lalonde put a bill forward to spend a few million dollars promoting palliative care? It sure sounds like a better idea than promoting gay parades all across Canada. That’s taking the high road when it comes to suffering and death. Bill C-384 is a heartless, flawed bill.”
“How can you say that, Mr. Kennedy?” said Fornier.
“Miss Fornier, the bill says an individual who refuses appropriate treatments available for pain control is still eligible for euthanasia. Doesn’t that sound like a heavy sell for euthanasia? Euthanasia is a negative approach to pain and suffering. It ends hope for the sufferer.”
“Mr. Kennedy, I’m finding you quite convincing.”
“Me?” I said.
“Yes, you’re making sense,” said Fornier.
“Oh. Mrs. Lalonde has publicly announced that she has had cancer for the past two years. Miss Fornier, do you want her to take the euthanasia road that she’s promoting in Bill C-384 or take the ‘palliative road to hope?’ If you’re concerned about Mrs. Lalonde’s well-being, you’ll get her to drop Bill C-384 and take the road to hope.”
“It’s going to be difficult, Mr. Kennedy. She’s spent so many years promoting the bill.”
“Well, luckily, I brought with me a spanking new bill to replace Bill C-384. It’s called: ‘The Palliative Road to Hope for Sufferers Bill.’”
“That’s a lovely title,” said Fornier.
I got the proposed bill out of my briefcase and gave it to Miss Fornier. “Mrs. Lalonde can replace Bill C-384 with this.”
“Thank you, Mr. Kennedy,” said Fornier. “I’ll show it to her. All we can do now is hope and pray.”
“Right. Miss Fornier, you’re going to have to educate your boss. You tell Francine Lalonde that she will outshine all the other Lalondes in history if she goes ahead promoting this new bill. I promise I will work around the clock getting her a Nobel prize. Here’s my card. I’m afraid I have to leave now. Goodbye, Miss Fornier.”
“Thank you for coming, Mr. Kennedy. I love Mrs. Lalonde. But I never did like euthanasia.”