How the Euthanasia Push Was Defeated in Canada

Canadian executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schadenberg, was recently brought out to Australia by Endeavour Forum, Inc., for a speaking tour. Paul Russell, who is campaign director of HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide – an initiative of the Australian Family Association – interviewed him.

PR: In April this year, the Canadian Parliament defeated the latest attempt to legalise euthanasia by MP Francine Lalonde by a staggering margin of 228 votes to 59. I’ve always been under the impression that Canadian legislators were, in the main, leftist or libertarian. How then do you explain such an overwhelming vote against euthanasia, particularly considering that this was Lalonde’s third attempt?

AS: One of the reasons was that this was Lalonde’s third attempt! Members of parliament who had been there a while had had a long time to learn about euthanasia and assisted suicide, and the more they got to know about it, the more uncomfortable they became with it. So as time went along, even in this debate – she had presented this latest bill in May of 2009 and it was voted on in April 2010, so there was almost a year of the campaign – over that period of time there were quite a few MPs who moved over to our side.

A lot of that had to do with the fact that they came to grips with the fact that the issue of euthanasia touches many other issues – for instance, the disability community. The disability community were visiting MPs and talking about how their life experience was, and that really affected the debate in a serious manner.

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