A recent article in the Globe and Mail announced, “Liberals to Whip the Vote in Favour of Assisted-Dying Law.” While this is good news, not everyone is happy:
The Conservatives and NDP, however, view the issue as a personal one – and say they will allow MPs to vote according to their conscience.
This brings up the question: What does an individual MP’s conscience have to do with another individual’s right to request a physician assisted death? This is a particularly important question that deserves an answer, especially when it appears that the conscience of some MPs has been shaped by the MPs’ ignorance and/or by their religion.
This is especially true in the case of John McKay, Liberal MP for Scarborough-Guildwood. The Wikipedia article on McKay says, “McKay has lived most of his life in Scarborough, Ontario” and lists his religion as Baptist. His website biography says he is “the past moderator of Spring Garden Church” in Toronto. McKay’s affiliation with the Baptist religion is his business; unfortunately, as the Wikipedia article and his biography show, McKay thinks Canadians should be aware of his religion. Of course, this makes some Canadians suspect that McKay’s conscience has been shaped by his church.
However, it isn’t only McKay’s Baptist conscience that is a problem; equally problematic is his ignorance of physician assisted dying and his fear mongering. According to the Globe and Mail,
Mr. McKay said he has particular concerns around the issue of medical consent – including whether doctors could face legal action if a patient’s family objects.
“It is inevitable, guaranteed, that there will be cases where … a doctor gets sued, because he whacked Aunt Minnie and nobody in the family wanted Aunt Minnie to be whacked.”
Only the uncouth would use a word like whacked and only someone who uses fear mongering instead of an informed opinion would say, “It is inevitable, guaranteed, that there will be cases where … a doctor gets sued, because he whacked Aunt Minnie.”
I suspect that McKay’s attitude toward physician assisted dying is similar to his attitude toward abortion: all Canadians should live and die the way McKay’s conscience tells them. McKay’s statement, quoted and printed in the Globe and Mail, is an insult to his constituents, his party and to all Canadians who want and deserve the legal right to die with dignity.