Tag Archives: Assisted Suicide

My conversation with a man whose wife died by assisted suicide

The other day I met a man whose wife had died by assisted suicide earlier this year. We sat beside each other on an airplane and struck up conversation, as people do. We discovered we were both writers of a sort, and that was our starting point.

I don’t really remember how it came up, but I must have asked him about his wife. He was an elderly man and something he said made me think he was widowed fairly recently. Then he told me this really enormous thing: that his wife had fought cancer for years and had entered a new, final phase of not winning the fight anymore and so she had chosen assisted suicide about four months ago, with his support.

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This seemed like a huge disclosure, a big, sad, tragic thing to share. I don’t know if the ease of his disclosure is a statement about how writers tend to go deep quickly with each other, or maybe it’s more a statement about the potential “ordinariness” of what we are now doing in Canada, by having assisted suicide.

Or, maybe, he was just sad and it was recent and so he blurted it out to a stranger. Then, almost right after he told me, this kind, quiet man asked me what kind of writing I do.

So, I told him I wrote mostly about faith things, and religious things, and that my husband is a minister. I’m not sure why I added that bit about my husband, but I think I said it because I wanted to assure him that I understood grief, and he was clearly grieving.
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Why I rushed home and finally called my Member of Parliament

by Karen Stiller

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Contact your MP now. That was the advice given in the latest EFC webinar “Worse than we thought: physician-assisted suicide”

Today, I rushed home from work and called my Member of Parliament. It wasn’t nearly as difficult or stressful as I feared. To be honest, I don’t even know why I thought it would be. What was I so worried about?

Sometimes I host EFC webinars, and the most recent was on euthanasia and physician-assisted death in Canada. Specifically the recommendations made by the Joint Parliamentary Committee assigned by the government to study the issue and make recommendations around the new law we will have in Canada.

The most floppy of recommendations, as it turns out. If the door to physican-assisted suicide was open a crack in Canada before, the recommendations of the committee would rip the door off its hinges and leave a gaping hole in its place.
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EFC Webinar Tackles Huge Issue

Last week, Bruce Clemenger, president of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), sat down with Karen Stiller, a senior editor of Faith Today, to talk about euthanasia.Needle photo

We had an invisible audience, those who had signed up and listened in on the EFC’s first foray into the world of webinars.

We had been talking about webinars for a while — thinking they would be an effective way to both offer and receive wisdom, insight and action points on some of the crucial issues facing Canada today.

The issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide was the final push for us to complete a crash course on webinars, sit down in front of two microphones and our laptops (being careful not to spill our giant glasses of water of course) and have a conversation  we thought was important.

Just over two months ago, the Supreme Court of Canada  in a unanimous ruling, struck down Canada’s laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Court ruled that the law that made it illegal for anyone to help people end their own lives should be amended to allow doctors to help in specific situations.

The court has given federal and provincial governments 12 months to craft legislation to respond to that ruling. If the government doesn’t write a new law, the court’s exemption for physicians will become the new status-quo in Canada.

Euthanasia and sanctity of life issues are some of the most pressing challenges facing Canadians and parliamentarians today.

The EFC  has long been a voice for the sanctity of life, and a voice against euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. And Faith Today is a magazine where we try to translate some of these issues into features and news pieces that serve and inform our readers along the way. The webinar brought those worlds together. It is posted now for anyone to listen to. We will have more coming down the pipe.

Listen here.

Watch for the May/June issue of Faith Today as we explore the ethics of euthanasia and Canada’s “seismic shift” with ethicist and columnist Margaret Somerville. Subscribe today!