Government Structures and Political Decision Making Project Euthanasia Historical Background of Issue Advancements in medical treatment people are able to delay death. This usually entails a diminished quality of life, especially if someone is battling an incurable disease. Key issues have risen to bring talks about euthanasia: o The desire to be spared from prolonged suffering o The increased incidence of seriously debilitating diseases such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. o A better understanding of how medical technology can prolong life and affect the dying process. Section 14 of the Code provides that: o “No person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted on him, and such consent does not affect the criminal responsibility of any person by whom death may be inflicted on the person by whom consent is given.” This means that a doctor who, at a patient’s request, gives the patient a lethal injection would be criminally liable. (Tiedemann & Valiquet, 2008) Lobbying Use of media o Allowing the use of social media to allow the public to voice their opinions on the issue. o Using newspapers, television, the internet to spread both the facts about the issue and the voice of the public. If the public responds to this issue by way of letters to newspapers, local MP’s and public protests, then the government will have to make considerations into changing the law. The Legislature o Has the power to change and make laws and bills in Canada o The lobbyers use their extensive knowledge of the issue to inform members of parliament. o Target specifically the minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, who was appointed by the Prime Minister and also has background knowledge on the issue. o o o The legislature is the only one able to pass a bill. (Ruypers, Austin, Carter, & Murphy, 2005) (Health Canada, 2009) Examples In 1992, Sue Rodriguez forced the right-to-die debate into the spotlight in Canada. o "If I cannot give consent to my own death, whose body is this? Who owns my life?" she said. The Supreme Court of Canada ultimately ruled against Rodriguez, but her struggle galvanized the public. Rodriguez committed suicide in 1994 with the help of an anonymous doctor. On 6 May 1997, in Halifax, Dr. Nancy Morrison was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of a terminally ill cancer patient. Mr. Mills had cancer of the esophagus, which required removing the esophagus and repairing the gap by repositioning the stomach. All possible treatment methods were unsuccessful. By 9 November 1996, there was no hope of recovery. Legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Oregon and Washington (CBC News, 2009) (Tiedemann & Valiquet, 2008) Issues The fine line between assisted suicide and euthanasia. o Assisted suicide occurs when a person — typically someone suffering from an incurable illness or chronic intense pain — intentionally kills himself with the help of another individual. The Criminal Code of Canada outlaws suicide assistance, with penalties of up to 14 years in prison. Some religious opponents argue that God, not humans, should decide the time for death. And many medical professionals maintain it is never morally permissible for doctors to help kill a patient. Works Cited CBC News. (2009, Febuary 9). The fight for the right to die. Retrieved July 15, 2011, from CBC News Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2009/02/09/f-assisted-suicide.html Health Canada. (2009, September 29). About Health Canada- Minister. Retrieved July 15, 2011, from Health Canada: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/minist/index-eng.php Ruypers, J., Austin, M., Carter, P., & Murphy, T. G. (2005). Canadian and World Politics . Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited. Tiedemann, M., & Valiquet, D. (2008, July 17). Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2011, from Parliament of Canada: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/researchpublications/919e.htm * All of my sources were taken from highly respected sites in the CBC, Health Canada and the Parliament of Canada as well as our textbook. Also all of the sources were from no later than 2005 making them all relevant to my issue.