Resident challenges prime minister over legally assisted suicide

This is an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau.

I have just finished reading an article by Jim Taylor, a freelance columnist regarding the epidemic of dementia in Canada.

Mr. Taylor’s research shows that at this point in time, one in every 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has some form of dementia. That is 700,000 Canadians, with 25,000 new Canadians diagnosed every year, with a disease for which there is presently no cure, and no cure on the horizon.

According to Mr. Taylor, more than 50,000 dementia patients currently live in hospital beds throughout Canada, clogging the hospitals at a staggering cost.

Based on these statistics, what could have possibly motivated your decision to not include this incurable, debilitating and totally humiliating disease in the list of conditions eligible for legally assisted suicide?

Only those pre-disposed to the concept would take advantage of it, with no impact on any other Canadian.

Let us remove the human factor for a second, and just consider the inescapable facts.

Based on the numbers quoted above, how long do you think it will be before the number of patients who are long past the point where they can make an informed decision on legally assisted suicide, totally overwhelm the available medical resources and funding to take care of them?

Now considering the human factor, if we have about 50,000 of the 700,000 afflicted people taking up hospital beds, that means there are 650,000 others with various stages of this disease, being cared for at home by family members and friends.

As all of us know that as their condition deteriorates, they will require full time care, 24/7 from these people, with a significant loss of quality of life for many years for their caregivers.

As indicated above, not all dementia patients would choose assisted suicide to be administered when they got to a point that they could no longer control their bodily functions, but I am sure there would be many people who would.

I am one of those people, as is almost everyone I discuss this with.

Why should we be left with no other option than to have to make a pact with each other to provide whatever assistance we can to fulfil the wishes of the dementia sufferer?

By your decision, you are taking us back to the time when women had to have abortions in back-alleys due to the religious and moral objections of male politicians.

We elected you to follow the wishes of the majority of the people, not decisions based on your own personal morals, or biased opinions.

The Supreme Court of Canada ordered you to make medically assisted suicide a full and reasonable reality, and you have failed miserably.

Please, do your job and amend the existing restrictive legislation to give all dementia patients who so choose, the right to die with dignity, in a controlled environment.

Give them the right to choose not to destroy the lives of family members or friends, and when their minds are gone, let them know that they don’t have to be subject to the humiliation which is part of the end stage of this disease.

Steve Harrison



Vernon Morning Star