A Final Public Statement From An Ontario Man, Granted Doctor-Assisted Death

A Brief One from Doug Draper, publisher, Niagara At Large

Posted March 17th, 2016

This Thursday, March 17th, an 81-year-old, terminally ill Ontario man, reportedly racked with unbearable pain from the cancer occupying his body, was finally granted his wish by a Toronto Superior Court judge to “die with dignity” with the assistance of a doctor.dying-with-dignity-20141015

The judge’s decision has come almost a year after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the current nation-wide ban on doctor-assisted death is unconstitutional and gave the federal government a year to table legislation replacing that ban.

With the tabling of new legislation now only weeks away, a national debate over the legality and morality of granting individuals the right to die with the assistance of a physician continues to intensify.

In the midst of this debate, there is the statement released this March 17th by this terminally ill and suffering Toronto man, who would only be identified by the initials A.B. and who hoped that his wishes would be carried on within two or three days.

I heard this statement read on CBC Radio a few hours after the Toronto judge made his ruling after reportedly being drawn to tears when the statement was being read to him in court by the man’s lawyer.  After hearing it on the radio, I felt moved to post it here for anyone who may have missed it, and for any comment you may wish to share in the space below its final words.

“I want to thank the court for the ruling today. This decision allows me, with the support of caring doctors, to die with dignity and relieves me from the mental and physical pain should I so choose. But what is really most important is that it allows me to be in control of when and how my journey will end.”

“This is a right of human dignity and I am thankful I no longer have to live under a cloud of stigma and shame that I feel as I slowly and painfully lose control. I have had a good life, an exciting life, and one that I lovingly shared with my wife and my children, my grandson and my other grandchildren. I have no regrets about that.”

“My only regret in these last months is that my family and I have had to expend what little energy I have left to fight this court battle. My wish is that our government will see fit to make permanent changes in the law so that no other family will have to do this ever again. I believe firmly in the right to die with dignity and that it is a right that should be available to all Canadians to exercise according to their circumstances and beliefs.”

“My decisions about next steps will be made in private by me with the support of my doctors and my family.”

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.

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