Canada has finally passed legislation to allow people to receive medical aid to end their lives. It is about time. Medically assisted dying is something we ought to have allowed a long time ago, as there is no goodness in making people suffer just to continue life.
Unfortunately it isn't quite the bill I was hoping for. It allows people who are terminally ill to end their lives, which is good, but it doesn't allow people who are suffering but not likely to die the same option. It is really important that we don't write off people who are sick, and work hard to give them opportunities to contribute and lead happy lives, but sometimes that isn't an option. Sometimes people end up in places where their suffering is so great that they would rather not live, and there should be a legal way for them to do that.
I don't know why exactly the government was so intent on this particular implementation. They pushed their version where only those people who will soon die can access medically assisted dying, despite opposition from the Senate as well as plenty of other sources interested in the outcome. My guess is that the Liberals are trying to play the centre - appeasing the right who don't want people to have physician assisted dying, but also appeasing the left who do. Cutting out people who are suffering but not in danger of dying is the middle ground. I think it is a cowardly act, politically calculated, and not what people need.
We do need protections for the vulnerable, but there are plenty of protections in place. We don't need to outlaw something entirely just to reduce risk to zero - you make the best safety rules you can and then you move forward.
So I am happy that this has happened, but I wish it happened properly. It doesn't give me a lot of hope for legalization of marijuana, unfortunately, because I suspect that the Liberals will do the same thing and run down the middle. Instead of just low level regulation they will probably end up with a mess of rules that make it too expensive or too difficult to get pot for most people and it won't actually end the war on pot, wasting endless time and money.
I had greater hopes for the Liberals. Perhaps they can yet prove me wrong, but I am not overly optimistic.