Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cardinal Says He Thinks Canadians Haven't Thought Enough about Assisted Dying

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cardinal Says He Thinks Canadians Haven't Thought Enough about Assisted Dying

Article excerpt

Church at odds with advocacy group on assisted dying

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TORONTO - The Archbishop of Toronto said he doesn't think Canadians have put enough thought into medically assisted dying -- and when they do, they'll realize it's a bad idea.

Cardinal Thomas Collins weighed into the debate on assisted dying Sunday, reading a statement on the church's position at a mass, while a written or videotaped version was presented to more than 200 Catholic churches across the Archdiocese of Toronto -- the country's largest diocese.

In his sermon, Collins said people are being "dazzled by sweet words", but that assisted death is "most destructive to the human person, destructive to our society, our community."

Collins told reporters outside the church that he thinks "people have not thought much about this," and once they think more deeply about it, they're likely to have second thoughts.

Shanaaz Gokool, the CEO of the advocacy group Dying With Dignity, disagrees with the notion that Canadians have not seriously thought about the issue.

"It's being played out in the press, it's being played out in people's homes. At family dinners, people are having these discussions as they consider their own wishes for end-of-life."

She cited a poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid last month, in which 86 per cent of people questioned agreed with the Supreme Court of Canada decision that struck down the Criminal Code ban on assisted dying. She added that 83 per cent of people surveyed who identified themselves as Catholic were also in support of the ruling.

As it stands, laws surrounding assisted dying are in a state of limbo, as the Supreme Court has given the federal government until June to bring in new legislation. Until then, Canadians who want an assisted death need permission from a Superior Court.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has prepared with an interim guide for medically-assisted death, in case such permission is granted. …

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