Monday, November 2, 2009

Conflict Up North

A disabled federal cabinet minister who supports euthanasia says he will abstain from voting on a contentious right-to-die bill, even though he calls it “a provocative starting point” on the issue of assisted suicide.

Conservative MP Steven Fletcher, a quadriplegic, says that despite his belief that terminally ill or physically disabled people should be allowed to choose death in some instances, he will not be voting yes to Bill C-384, a private member’s bill put forth by Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde.

“Yes, the bill would provide the terminally ill with more freedom to end their own lives with dignity,” writes Fletcher, 37, in an opinion piece appearing Monday in the National Post.

“But it may also worsen the plight of the severely injured and ill by relieving the pressure on Canadians to come to terms with the more important challenge of providing the level of support required to make living the first choice.”

Fletcher was an athletic 23-year-old engineering graduate when his car collided with a moose on a Manitoba highway, paralyzing him from the neck down and ending his ability to walk, touch, feel and breathe on his own. The accident left him in excruciating pain “that would make you welcome death,” he writes.


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