Disabilities group opposes euthanasia bill

WINNIPEG – The Council of Canadians with Disabilities has come out against Bill C-384, the private member’s bill of Francine Lalonde (Bloc, La Pointe-de-l’Île) that, if passed, will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. The CCD said C-384, the “Right to Die with Dignity Act,” which received first reading in May, puts “Canadians with disabilities at risk.” A press release from the organization stated, “Assisted suicide is not a free choice as long as (people) are denied adequate healthcare, affordable personal assistance in their communities and equal access to social structures and systems.” Rhonda Weibe, co-chair of  the CCD’s ending of life ethics committee, said, “This bill threatens the lives of Canadians with disabilities. Its selling points are the notions of ‘dignity’ and ‘suffering.’ However, the bill never explains what these terms mean.” Weibe continued: “These terms are based more on social values than scientific ones, but this bill proposes that a ‘medical’ and ‘legal’ solution be the remedy for people whose lives are not ‘dignified’ and who ‘suffer.’”

Bubble zone upheld

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed without comment an appeal by Donald David Spratt that challenged the British Columbia “bubble zone” law, which states pro-life protesters cannot stand within a 50-metre radius around abortion facilities. Spratt was charged in 1998 for carrying a wooden cross and a sign that said, “Thou shall not kill” inside the 50-metre zone. He claimed the so-called “bubble zone” violated his freedom of expression. This was Spratt’s second attempt at an appeal; the first was to the B.C. Court of Appeal, which in 2008 rejected his case. Campaign Life Coalition B.C. president John Hof said “the Supreme Court is afraid to touch the abortion issue” and “free speech takes a back seat when it comes to the sacrosanct issue of abortion.” Spratt was arrested on June 19, handing out information about the bubble zone. (See “B.C. activists” on page 3.)