Now the state "presumes" to control our deaths

Par Beryl Wajsman le 19 juin 2019

It doesn't seem to stop does it? Government after government at every level just can't get it through their collective heads that their job is called "public service." Service. They are elected to deliver and ensure the essential services we the people that elected them need every day. Care for the vulnerable, health, transport, dignified and affordable housing, pensions, order and so on. What they are not elected to do is to engage in the social engineering of our lives and our minds.

They are not elected to tell us how to talk, what to ingest or imbibe, how to be "correct," what risks to take, and certainly not to be fined for whatever adult choices we make that hurt no one. Yet this is exactly what most governments are busy doing. Grabbing all manner of imperative in our lives and fencing us in. They do this because it is easier to make prohibitionary law and prey on our fears telling us it is for our own good. Telling us that big brother knows better. Well the reality is that most legislators don't know what is good for themselves never mind for us. They just look for more control and more fodder for their re-election flyers . And every time another controlling idea is legislated in one jurisdiction, it quickly spreads like a virus to others.

That is exactly what happened in Nova Scotia recently. That province's government decided that controlling our lives wasn't enough. It now wants to control our deaths. How did we not see that coming? And it did it in the most patently opportunistic political manner. 

Logan Boulet was one of the young hockey players killed in the Humboldt Broncos tragedy one year ago. Logan had filled out an organ donor card just a short time before his death.The Nova Scotia government cynically decided to use that tragic anniversary and dovetail on Logan's courage to become the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce legislation that will make "presumed consent" the law. That is, every adult will be considered to consent to have their organs harvested at death unless they have "opted out" by going online or signing a "do not consent" card. For the first time a government will have a say in the disposition of our bodies.

Once again a government fails to understand that it is about "our lives, our choices." A slogan that worked very well for women's rights on abortions when it was "our body, our choice." Perhaps we need to restart that mindset. Once again a government fails to understand that the proper role of the state is to persuade and to educate. Not to coerce and compel. But certainly not to force a bullying role for itself in death. A time that should be sacrosanct for all Canadian families and free from the long arm of the state. 

While it is true that an overwhelming number of Canadians favor the concept of organ donations, only some 20% have filled out forms. It's their choice! The concept of choice seems to escape most Canadian politicians. Even the NS Health Minister announced that the law will require a 12-18 month "education process" and that there are no "guarantees" that process will succeed. The very language he used reminds one of Khmer Rouge "reeducation process" which if it didn't take the prisoners were shot. The Nova Scotia government is inherentLy admitting most Canadians don't want their organs harvested. Hence, it will force them. There's our free society.

As with most illiberal laws, the viral infection started in a number of days. The government of New Brunswick announced it was not only drafting a law modeled on Nova Scotia's but is considering going a step further. The Nova Scotia legislation keeps the definition of death as brain death. Neurological cessation. The New Brunswick legislation may define death as cardiological cessation. Yet many people who are technically dead after a heart attack are revived. Are we to assume that NB will now issue "do not resuscitate" order to hospitals and EMS units? Are we to have legalized manslaughter? Our brave new world.

One final thought. We hear so much from Prime Minister Trudeau about diversity being our strength. Whatever we may think of that questionable premise, the reality is that Jews, Muslims and Hindus do not believe in desecrating the body after death. What is to be the fate for those communities if their consent is to be "presumed." This type of legislation deserves a big, fat "No!" Death is not the purview of the state. If we submit to this, we forfeit the last frontier of our dignity.


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Beryl P. Wajsman

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