Articles by Margaret Somerville
By Margaret Somerville and Charles Lewis
April 1, 2015
Following the Supreme Court of Canada's February decision invalidating federal laws against assisted suicide, Convivium publisher Peter Stockland had the chance to converse with two of the country's prominent voices in the anti-euthanasia fight. Charles Lewis is a veteran journalist forced to leave his job as a religion reporter for the National Post due to a disability.
They were told by people who were very active in trying to prevent the legalization of euthanasia: "Please keep out of it, because if it gets labelled as a Catholic issue, then everybody will say, 'Well, we don't need to worry about that because that's just a religious view C: But how did we get to this cultural moment when, whatever the bishops do or don't do, nine justices of the Supreme Court and a large percentage of the Canadian population now believe that the deliberate killing of another human being is quite acceptable MS: But I think one of the things that we have to understand about young people is, as one of my students said to me, "For us, the greatest evil is suffering, and anything that will reduce suffering is therefore acceptable And even though the person does want euthanasia, we say, regretfully, that's one thing we can't do for you because we also have to worry about the values that inform our society, and one of those values is respect for life I think there must be devastation for people who think, "Well, why didn't they let me help them? Why didn't they let me care for them?" When celebrities such as Robin Williams kill themselves, there's always a sidebar with the reporting that says "If you know somebody who's depressed, suicidal, here's what you should do CL: But these are smart people, and once somebody tells you, "You better make sure that nobody knows that you're a Catholic," you're hiding yourself away MS: I think the biggest wrong in the Supreme Court judgment relates to that, Charlie CL: In reading about what happened in Oregon, and reading about what happened in Holland — I'm not sure about Belgium — over time, more doctors got used to it and were willing to do it C: Margo, would you agree with the idea that it's, at least in part, a loss of a religious sense, that is, of a sense that there's existence-plus CL: Margo was one of the first people I went to speak to as I was trying to work my way around this What the Quebec government was arguing, and what they're now in court arguing, is that euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, words they never use — they speak of MAD, medically assisted dying — is a medical treatment and, therefore, is within the provincial jurisdiction over health and social services When I talk about euthanasia, people say, "That's just you being religious, trying to impose your views on the rest of us I kept thinking, where is the Prime Minister? Where is the federal Justice Minister, even our pro-life MPs? Somebody should have noticed and said, "Look, you're jumping the gun MS: The very first, very long article that I wrote was called "The Song of Death: The Lyrics of Euthanasia
April 1, 2014
Social conservationist Margaret Somerville considers the distance from Canada to Australia and the earth to the stars
C: My son, who is finishing a PhD in the history of science, can't understand why people think euthanasia is a progressive gesture when, in fact, it's the worst aspect of the neo-liberal agenda MS: One of the things that they've found to be most important in helping people to die peacefully is if th...