Sign sends a message at rally against assisted suicide in 2016 on Parliament Hill. CNS photo/Art Babych

Euthanasia has warped Canada’s collective morality

  • December 21, 2022

What happens to a society in which killing replaces care? What happens when ending a life is considered compassionate and the preserving of life cruel?

We at times we forget that before 2016, when MAiD (medical aid in dying) became law, so called compassionate killing was criminal. Now it’s just another medical procedure and one that is quickly losing any stigma of wrongdoing. 

A February 2021 Ipsos poll found a disturbing amount of support for MAiD or, as it should be called, euthanasia:

  • 87-per-cent support for legalized euthanasia;
  • 65-per-cent support for euthanatizing those whose sole condition is mental illness;
  • 69-per-cent for the removal of “reasonably foreseeable” death requirement from the law;
  • 64-per-cent said it would be okay for teens to request euthanasia.

I began writing about euthanasia when I was a reporter at the National Post. In 2007 there was no thought it would be legalized but polls showed a majority of Canadians were for some form of medically assisted death.

It came before Parliament in 2010 but it was roundly defeated. I thought for sure that was that. I was wrong.

In 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada knocked down our law that made it illegal to kill the sick and dying. A mere year later, the Liberal government made it legal. Some supporters seemed to be celebrating a fundamental advancement in creating a more civilized country.

We were told that there would be no slippery slope. Only those near death, of sound mind and the age of majority would be eligible. It was, we were told, safe. 

Then in December 2016, the government struck a committee of academics to look at the feasibility of extending euthanasia to those who were ill but not dying, to teens and the mentally ill. That convinced me the government was lying about there being no slippery slope. Why commission a study about something you would never do?

Then the slide began. First eliminating the requirement of foreseeable death. The inclusion of the mentally ill that was to begin in March was recently delayed for further study.  There has also been serious discussion about killing infants and teens. Meantime we still lack enough good palliative care to offer a real alternative to euthanasia.

All this indicates to me that our collective morality has become warped. We are sick to the core and most of us don’t know it.

In one of my first talks about legalized euthanasia, I quoted Fr. Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit who was executed in February 1945 for anti-Nazi activity. This is what he said about the Nazi euthanasia program.

“A community that gets rid of someone — a community that is allowed to, and can, and wants to get rid of someone when he no longer is able to run around as the same attractive or useful member — has thoroughly misunderstood itself. Even if all of a person’s organs have given out, and he no longer can speak for himself, he nevertheless remains a human being. Moreover, to those who live around him, he remains an ongoing appeal to their inner nobility, to their inner capacity to love and to their sacrificial strength. Take away people’s capacity to care for their sick and to heal them, and you make the human being into a predator, an egotistical predator that really only thinks of his own nice existence.”

We are that community. God pity us.


This is my last regular column for The Catholic Register. I’ve been writing twice a month for about six years and I’ve decided it was time to move on. I still hope to write for The Register from time to time.

I had to take into consideration serious health problems and a desire to volunteer at a local hospice. There is only so much energy to go around.

It’s been a privilege to have had a forum to express my ideas and have readers who cared about what I have to say. I always wanted to be a Catholic journalist without having to apologize for the views we hold sacred.

I want to thank the three editors I’ve worked with: Jim O’Leary, Mike Simpson and Peter Stockland. All are good men who let me write with almost complete freedom. 

Catholic journalism is important. We need to learn about the world through the filter of our faith, the one harbour of truth in a sea of confusion and lies. Please continue to support this paper and Catholic journalism. Pax.

(Lewis is a regular contributor to The Catholic Register.)

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