Editorial: See, hear, understand

  • May 11, 2023

There is a properly horrified response to the accusations and speculations around Mississauga’s Kenneth Law, who appeared in court this week charged with assisting suicide through sale of sodium nitrate.

Yet the reaction demands context alongside Our Lord’s explanation that he was obliged to speak in parables because of those who “seeing, see not, and hearing, hear not.”

Law, 57, is obviously innocent until proven guilty of counselling or aiding the suicides of two Canadians by selling them copious quantities of what amounts to meat tenderizer that they fatally ingested. Even so, the very case against him stands as a parable for the culture of death as an evil miasma of refusal to see, hear and understand.

For while Law does not deny using the Internet to act as a willing sodium nitrate seller to willing sodium nitrate buyers, he insists he offered only the means for individual purchasers to make free choices with their lives. His claim repeats verbatim the snake oil rhetoric of those who’ve sold the poisoned elixir of “dying with dignity” for 30 years.

It’s arguable his original mistake was graduating as an engineer and later becoming a chef at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel rather than being a doctor. If he’d chosen the latter career path, he’d be free to prescribe suicidal substances under the legal fig leaf of so-called Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD.) He might, then, be before the courts now because of a category error.

It has never been rationally explained, after all, what special status the medical profession possesses for its members to be given the legal and moral monopoly on delivering suicide.

During Quebec’s forced march to health care homicide 10 years ago, it was popularly suggested veterinarians might better fill the role of fatal injectors since they received significantly more hours of euthanasia training than their MD counterparts. Since the Supreme Court of Canada overturned its own precedent in 2015 and opened the door to gateway venom flooding the nation’s medical system, a significant core of physicians have steadfastly objected that killing is antithetical to their profession.

In fact, at least one exception to doctor delivery of death possibly already exists. The National Post reported May 4 that nine federal prisoners have received lethal injections since 2016 — despite Canada’s long ago abolition of capital punishment. Three MAiD inmates were apparently shackled at their time of death. Details are sketchy because Corrections Canada is the one institution free from following reporting protocols necessary beyond the Big House walls.

None of this, self-evidently, lessens the horror of what Law stands accused of doing. It in no way reduces the pain for families of those to whom he is said to have sold suicidal amounts of sodium nitrate. But all of it is precisely what those who saw, heard and understood the evil of MAiD, tried to warn their fellow citizens would come to pass. Prediction has become parable.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.