I am writing to you today in the hopes that at the coming meeting of the Legislative Assembly you will help make British Columbia one of the most progressive provinces in Canada. The issue I am talking about is, of course, the legalization of Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. The awful inadequacy of our current laws, such as Section 241.(b) which states “Everyone who aids or abets a person to commit suicide, whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years,” leaves thousands of Canadians in agonizing pain without any escape or relief. I believe it is past time we leave these archaic laws behind and so do the majority of Canadians.
With our current medical knowledge there are still many extremely painful terminal illnesses that cannot be cured. Modern medicine may be able to prolong the patient’s life, but what is often resultant is a life with restricted motor skills, or lack of cognitive ability and excruciating pain. Along with that, often meds administered to patients to ease pain cause loss of mental alertness and intellectual ability. It is clear that there is some suffering that only death can end.
In addition to being the right thing to offer, it is the overwhelming will of Canadians. A recent Angus Reid poll showed that 80% of Canadians support the right of grievously ill patients to have medical assistance to die. Despite there being momentous support for the legalization of assisted suicide many MLAs and MPs have been too afraid to broach the subject in fear of polarizing voters; however, I encourage you to do the right thing and be a leader for this issue with knowledge that the majority of British Columbians support you. Furthermore, it is often the case in jurisdictions where Euthanasia has been legalized, such as Oregon, that after the law has passed individuals realize their fears were unwarranted and support increases.
Another factor not often considered is the high cost of prolonging someone’s life and the often very limited amount of hospital beds and machines available. Often those living their last days require the most complicated and expensive equipment. Life support machines cost an average of $3000-$4000 per day to operate, an expense many would view as pointless if the individual is suffering from an incurable illness. It is not uncommon now to hear in the news about Hospitals running out of space and beds to house patients. One small way to help this would be to...