Monday, December 4, 1992 will be remembered as the day that Ontario’s NDP government passed three bills – 108, 109 and 110 – which catapulted the province into the forefront of the euthanasia movement in Canada.

Although the new laws contain a myriad of dubious initiatives, pro-life objections inevitably emphasize one area: The new laws legalize living wills in Ontario. Living wills are widely viewed to represent the first crucial legislative victory on the road to assisted suicide and active euthanasia.

The legislation suggests that Ontarians can no longer trust their loved ones or their doctor; that, if they should become terminally ill or elderly and near death, their family and physician would conspire to keep them alive in a frightening world of high-tech tubes and wires and screaming pain.

To avoid this supposed nightmare, the NDP now requires the public to sign a living will laying out, in detail, all the medical procedures they might not want.  They are forced to do this now, without at all knowing what the future holds.

Pro-lifers argue that living wills undermine the professional judgment of the physician.  They compel the physician to act in a certain manner dictated by a written document that could not possibly encompass all scenarios.

Clearly, most favour what has always been: to allow a joint decision by the family and physician based upon their knowledge of the wishes and condition of the patient.  The new legislation diminishes the rights and responsibilities of family members when it comes to ethical decision-making regarding incapable elderly patients.

Various media have given enormous publicity to a few cases where terminally ill patients may have had their lives prolonged against their wishes.  But the reality of health care delivery in Ontario in 1992 is quite different.  With the declining health budgets, cost containment and shutting down hospital beds and services, many feel the present danger to patients is not getting more health services than they need – the danger is not getting enough.

The ironic effect of the media scare stories in the present context of slashing health budgets and cost containment is to have people agree in advance – through living wills or advanced directives – to receive less health care than they may need when they actually become sick.  And this is dome under the guise of protecting patients from being “abused” by too much health care.

Living wills are the Ontario government’s response to the convergence of three important factors:

  • Economic downturn resulting in less government money to spend.
  • The elderly consume per capita a disproportionate amount of the health dollar.
  • The percentage of elderly people in our population is increasing rapidly; this percentage is expected to exceed 55 per cent over the next ten years.

It has long been recognized that health care reform must be a priority of government if society is to cope with an increasing older population.

Living wills represent an NDP effort to save money on the health care needs of the elderly by conning them into agreeing to less care.

But the NDP is not content with setting up living wills as voluntary early-death mechanisms.  Despite waiting periods for beds already ranging from several months to more than two years at nursing homes, chronic-care hospitals and homes for the aged, the cash-strapped Ontario government has frozen the number of long-term care beds in the province.

The Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors “projects that by 2010, under the policy of zero growth in long-term care facilities, there will be fewer than four beds for every 1,000 people over 65.”

Experts see the NDP’s cost-containment policies impact disproportionately upon the elderly.  Bills 108, 109 and 110 indicate that the NDP has few plans for the elderly other than persuading them to accept drastically reduced health care through the use of living wills – with euthanasia just around the corner.

New Year’s Resolutions

Peter Hopkins – Of County Mayo, Ireland, is a veteran pro-life activist who, with his wife Una, led the resistance against Henry Morgentaler in Quebec and, since his return to Ireland, is fighting to keep abortion out.

“I am determined to see that the people of Ireland are  given the opportunity to vote on a referendum question which has some degree of honesty about it. For example, a choice between abortion or no abortion and even more abortion.  Let them have an open, democratic choice and they will vote for no abortion.”

Dr. Andrew Simone – of Toronto, together with his wife Joan work tirelessly for Canadian Food for Children, an organization they founded to bring love and compassion to children everywhere.

“We hope that we all fill our hearts with love and joy of the Lord and that we spread this love by our daily prayers and actions and that we all offer our prayers for those who think abortion is ever justifiable.

Jim Hughes – A successful business entrepreneur before becoming national president of Campaign Life Coalition.

“I’ll continue to pray for the pro-abortionists and their intended victims.  Despite the world’s anti-life mentality, I promise to maintain my sense of humour and use every opportunity to pump sunshine into everyone I met.”

James A. Sclater – National Director of Public Policy for Focus on the Family (Canada).

“The tendency is to retreat from the battle and hope the defences hold.  However, I believe we can advance the cause of life in two main ways: faithfulness to God’s standards in our own relationships, and commitment to actions in the public square that will uphold truth and confront error and evil wherever we see it.  I am excited about another year which gives us the privilege of being found faithful and in which to take the risks involved in standing up in defense of the truth.  Firstly, I am committed to being what I am –disciple, husband, father, son and friend.  Secondly, I am an advocate for the family and for human life.  It’s going to be a good year.”

Heather Stilwell – Past president of Alliance for Life and a pro-life political candidate.  She is the lone pro-lifer on an NDP-nominated school board in Surrey, B.C.

“This year, I hope to continue in my efforts to get the pro-life, pro-family communities to recognize the importance of our participation in the election process at the local level i.e. city councils, school boards and hospital boards.  The NDP has been using this as a successful stepping stone for provincial and federal politicians.  I will contest in the federal election for the CHP and, if unsuccessful, I will run for re-election to the Surrey Public School Board.”

Angela Costigan – Prominent pro-life lawyer has, by her sincerity and eloquence, elevated pro-life submissions in the court room.

“I resolve to believe in miracles in 1993.”

Larry Henderson – Has had a distinguished career in radio and newspaper.  He was editor of the Catholic Register before taking the editorship of the Challenge Magazine.

“Never give up the fight for life.  Against us are evil and indifference.  For us is the whole future of mankind.”

Joe Borowski – Former Manitoba cabinet minister, who was jailed for refusing to pay taxes which were used to fund abortions.  He is best known for the Trial of the Century in which he asked the Supreme Court to give protection to the unborn child.

Many today consider human fertility as a curse.  Young people are told that they are not capable of being chaste.  The innocent unborn are sacrificed on the altar of expediency.  As we begin the New Year, our prayer should be for courage so that we may reflect our God, the source of all life.  May we become a beacon of light to a world that is madly bound over in a death wish.  Let us recognize the diabolical nature of the anti-life movement.  The Devil knows he cannot destroy God so he is determined to do the next worse thing, the destruction of God’s reflection, His children.  As our national anthem reminds us, may we always stand on guard against the forces of death.”