(November 23, 2018, 2:36 PM EST) — Do we need to make Canadian laws easier for people to commit suicide when they are terminally ill?
Audrey Parker, who took her own life in late October, thought so. The 57-year-old Haligonian and former image consultant had advocated that the two-year old assisted-suicide law be amended to allow the terminally ill to pre-approve assistance ending their lives.
Ms. Parker is quoted as stressing that the law had to be changed because anyone approved for medically assisted death must be conscious and mentally sound at the moment they grant their final consent for lethal injection.
She pointed out that she would have been denied her wish to end her life with medical assistance if she had been incapacitated by her advanced illness of the pain medication she was taking.
“Dying is a messy business,” she said.
Should parliamentarians accede to her request dying will become all that messier. The Counsel of Canadian Academics is submitting three reports to a parliamentary subcommittee studying the matter this December in favour of the issue.
Requiring a terminally ill person be conscious and of sound mind when consent is given was included in the legislation to protect the vulnerable. Allowing for the terminally ill to pre-approve their euthanasia opens the doors for the archetypical greedy children encouraging mom or dad to hand over their inheritance earlier rather than later. It precludes the dying from taking advantage of medical advances. A few years ago, AIDS was a death sentence; now people can live out their natural lives. It would not be moral to follow a person’s lethal instructions made yesterday when a cure is available today.
This is not the only assault on euthanasia fighting for easier access. Despite the public’s sympathy over the senseless and sad suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this year, assisted suicide advocates to want the existing law to include chronic depression.
Listening to the public discussion on euthanasia requires a good session of mental flossing afterward.
There is no “Right to Die” as advocates often are fond of saying. Suicide was never a crime in Canada. Asking another person to help you exposed that person to culpable homicide. The Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter v. Canada 2016 SCC 4 decision eliminated that exposure by carving out an exception to allow adults with grievous and irremediable conditions to have physician-assisted suicides.
Ms. Parker would have been at liberty: To ask for help in committing suicide; to choose the time and place to end her life; and, to choose her means.
She passed peacefully in her own home by her own hand. And if she was concerned that her disease physically debilitated her from taking her own life and physically prevented her from any form of communicating her instructions, she could have arranged her affairs to include a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” or any other preventative directive that would have prolonged her life.
George Grant, one of Canada’s and the world’s deepest thinkers, located the origin of this debate as a problem of modernity. Technology gives us the ability to shape our world, but it cannot tell us whether it is good to do so. By limiting ourselves to asking whether we can, those on the side of progress align themselves with the side that answers yes.
In so doing, he wrote, technology becomes tyrannical, coming cozily and on cat’s feet “with the denial of the rights of the aged, the denial of the rights of the mentally retarded, the insane, and the economically less-privileged, it will come with the denial of rights to all those who cannot defend themselves.”
This article was originally published at Lawyer’s Daily on Friday, November 23, 2018 @ 2:36 PM | By Sam Goldstein.
On October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada under the Cannabis Act. There are now strict rules in place to govern the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis. If you are not familiar with these new rules, you may find yourself being charged with a drug offence. So, here are some things that are still illegal though cannabis has been legalized:
Possession of an excessive amount of marijuana
While you can possess marijuana for recreational use, you are not allowed to have an unlimited amount. Each person is only allowed to have 30 grams of dried cannabis in his or her possession at any given time. For fresh cannabis, you can legally possess up to 150 grams. If you have cannabis seeds you are allowed to have 30 seeds as each seed is considered as an ounce.
Having more than four cannabis plants
You are now allowed to have a few home-grown cannabis plants for personal use unless you are living in Quebec or Manitoba. In Quebec and Manitoba, it is still illegal to grow any cannabis at home. In the rest of Canada, you are allowed to grow up to 4 cannabis plants. If you live with someone else, note that the law allows for 4 plants per household, not 4 plants per person.
Possession of a budding or flowering cannabis plant in public
Yes, the law allows you to have a few cannabis plants, but you may find yourself in legal trouble if you are found in possession of a flowering or budding plant in public. You can still move your plants from one location to another; as long as you ensure they do not have any buds or flowers. A budding or flowering plant in public could land you in prison for up to 5 years.
Selling marijuana without a without a licence
If you want to sell marijuana, you will need to have a licence to do so. You may, however, give marijuana away for free. This marijuana must be dried and be 30 grams or less.
Distributing marijuana to a minor
If you decide to share your cannabis with someone who is a minor, it is a crime. Committing such an offence could mean spending up to 14 years in prison.
Possessing illicit cannabis
Cannabis, even in legal amounts, is illicit if it is produced, sold or distributed by someone without the legal authorization to do so. Therefore, if you bought marijuana from an unlicensed distributor or if you got it from a minor or someone with more than the allowed number of plants, you are committing a crime.
Importing or exporting cannabis without authorization
If you are planning to take a trip outside of Canada, do not pack your cannabis. It is still illegal to travel internationally with or to ship cannabis unless you have a licence to import or export the product.
Do you need a drug charges lawyer in Toronto for any drug-related offence?
These are just some of the grey areas that have been created since the legalization of cannabis. If you found yourself in legal trouble for a drug offence, our drug charges lawyer, Sam Goldstein, can help. If you already have a drug conviction, Sam Goldstein will fight to have that conviction overturned through appeal. So, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of Toronto’s most experienced drug charges lawyer. Let him help you avoid having a drug conviction on your record.