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Death by relativism, or how Canada offers suicide as a lifestyle choice 

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IN his last homily before becoming Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger coined the phrase ‘a dictatorship of relativism.’  

In his sermon, he said: ‘We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognise anything as definitive, and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.’  

Proponents of the philosophy of relativism claim to believe that there is no truth; you have your beliefs and I have mine.  And it seems as though we are seeing Benedict’s warning come to pass in Canada.  

Since 2016, the Canadian government has made available to its citizens a euthanasia programme called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Under the original law, to be eligible for MAiD a person’s natural death had to be reasonably foreseeable. However, on March 17, 2021, the law changed and now MAiD applicants no longer need to prove that their death is imminent, only that they have a grievous and irremediable medical condition.  

And on March 17 next year, the rules behind this state-sponsored suicide programme will change again, adding to its eligibility list those whose only underlying medical condition is mental illness. To put MAiD’s popularity into perspective, from 2016 to 2021, more than 31,000 people have died from its sinister services.  

Apparently, suicide has become stylish in Canada. Literally. The Canadian fashion retailer Simons has created a promotional video featuring a 37-year-old woman, Jennyfer Hatch, who ended her life compliments of the euthanasia laws. It shows her on a beach drawing in the sand and blowing bubbles, then at a dinner table laughing with friends. A voiceover of her talking about her final days plays throughout the film.  

Jennyfer suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare disease of the connective tissues which brought her chronic pain. So she chose to participate in the MAiD programme and ended her life in October 2022. 

If you thought things could not get more evil in the Great White North, you would be wrong. For euthanasia is now allegedly going from fashionable to forced.  

Roger Foley, a patient suffering from cerebellar ataxia – an illness causing poor muscle control which restricts his ability to perform daily tasks – is claiming that care staff at the government-funded Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, have pressured him towards assisted suicide.  

He has been bedridden at the hospital for six years and has accumulated two million dollars in healthcare bills, so killing himself is seemingly suggested as a solution to this problem. Apparently he is not alone. Other patients have joined him in filing a lawsuit against the hospital authorities, claiming healthcare workers pressured them to end their lives.  

Meanwhile, a quick Google search for ‘suicide hotline in Canada’ results in plenty of options for those struggling with thoughts of killing themselves. On page one is a link to the suicide prevention section of Canada.ca – the Government of Canada’s ‘digital presence’.  

This lists warning signs of suicide and ways to help those exhibiting such signs, as well as giving a suicide prevention hotline phone number. In other words, the Government of Canada’s ‘digital presence’ offers the complete opposite message that MAiD is sending out to citizens.  

Now imagine if one of the Simons customers had second thoughts and was to call the Canada.ca suicide prevention hotline from his assisted-suicide hospital bed, or if Roger Foley tried to resist the pressures of the healthcare workers and phoned for assistance.  

Would these unfortunates be talked down from the ledge, as the website advertises, or would their calls be redirected to the MAiD offices? One wonders how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau squares this circle.   

To reiterate: On the one hand, the Canadian government is trying to prevent suicide, on the other, it is actively promoting it. Has there ever been a clearer case of Pope Benedict’s ‘dictatorship of relativism’? 

The Canadian government might like to dictate that there is no truth in terms of life and death, but it is wrong. The truth is that saving an innocent life is better than ending one. As Pope John Paul II said: ‘True compassion leads to sharing another’s pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear.’ 

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Thomas Lane
Thomas Lane
Thomas Lane is a writer who lives and works in New York City.

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