Thursday, September 26, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, September 26, 2013

It’s time to talk about assisted suicide: Ontario health minister

It’s time for Canadians and their leaders to talk about the taboo of assisted suicide as part of end-of-life care, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said Wednesday.

But in the end, it’s up to the federal government to decide whether it should be legal, she said.

“I think it’s about the community having the conversation, I think it’s about people having the conversation,” Matthews said.

A prominent doctor’s impassioned, videotaped appeal to legalize assisted suicide just a few days before his death has re-opened the emotionally charged debate.

Dr. Donald Low, who shepherded Toronto through the 2003 SARS crisis, asked that Canada allow people to die with dignity, eight days before he died from a brain tumour last week at age 68.

Low put a human face on the controversial subject, Matthews said.
“Donald Low’s video was very powerful and many people have personally experienced it,” she said.

“There are strong opinions on this. I think it’s a conversation we need to have.”

Matthews said she’d be surprised if the topic doesn’t come up when provincial, federal and territorial health ministers meet in Toronto on Sept. 27.

But she wouldn’t divulge her own view about assisted suicide. (Source: Edmonton Journal)