By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Monday, September 21, 2015

Make an Issue of It!!

To my mind, the most remarkable aspect of the present federal election campaign is the silence surrounding an issue which threatens our common life together as Canadians in profoundly harmful ways. That issue is physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Last February the Supreme Court of Canada declared the practices legal (!!!!) and gave the federal Parliament one year to produce legislation to accord with its decision. This is a change of seismic proportions to our laws protecting the vulnerable, a change that, in effect, does not protect the weak but instead deepens their vulnerability. Yet we hear nothing about it on the campaign trail! Gathered in plenary assembly last week, the Bishops of Canada gave voice to their astonishment at the lack of attention being given to this issue, and called upon all Catholics to make their voices heard and challenge the candidates on their position.

I echo the call. We must not be silent. When the SCC first rendered its judgement, I offered a statement in response, which can be found here. The statement issued last Friday by the Bishops of Canada can be found here. I invite you to review these statements and then contact those who are running for office. Let them know that what the Supreme Court has declared legal remains morally unacceptable. Call upon them to give full protection to the weak and vulnerable. Demand as well protection for the full conscience rights of medical professionals who may be pressured to kill another human being.

The situation before us is that we are now able to kill instead of care. Let's not stand for this, but stand instead for the protection of all human life from its beginning to natural end.