March 2, 2016 6:10 pm
Updated: March 8, 2016 8:05 am

Toronto archbishop issues call to arms against right-to-die legislation

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto's archbishop Cardinal Thomas Collins is speaking out against doctor-assisted death. Ashley Carter reports.

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TORONTO – The archbishop of Toronto is urging all Canadians, “of any faith or no faith” to oppose “chilling” parliamentary recommendations that would ease access to doctor-assisted death.

Cardinal Thomas Collins released a statement to be read in all 225 Toronto parishes this weekend, in which he condemns a recent federal report that made suggested a blueprint for the practice in Canadian hospitals.

Collins is to personally deliver his statement at St. Paul’s Basilica Sunday morning.

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He charged that Canada is already moving alarmingly fast, heading towards widely accessible physician assisted suicide only about a year removed from the Supreme Court decision upholding right-to-die laws.

“We’re not looking towards a slippery slope in the distance, we’re sliding down it already,” Collins told Global News.

The joint committee report released last week made 21 recommendations, ones Collins said should “shake us to the core.”

READ MORE: Right to die: Recommendations would make Canada’s assisted death among the world’s broadest

The recent recommendations from the senate and House of Commons committee are very troubling,” Collins told Global News.

“They recommend a thing such as euthanasia for minors, for people who have dementia, that they who can sort of preschedule their time of death, things of that type which are very troubling.

WATCH: Cardinal Thomas Collins released a video statement Wednesday condemning recent recommendations toward establishing right-to-die rules in Canada. 

“Also equally troubling is that they insist on forcing people … to take part in this. Every hospital must be willing to do euthanasia … and if an institution is to receive government funding it must be willing to be involved in killing its patients.”

READ MORE: Key questions on assisted death in Canada

Collins encouraged Canadians to contact their own MPs and even the prime minister before the Supreme Court’s June 6 deadline, by which time the government must craft right-to-die legislation.

Quebec is currently the only province with end-of-life care legislation in place, although Alberta announced this week that MLAs would begin gathering public feedback to establish guidelines on the issue.

On Monday, an Alberta court granted a Calgary woman the right to physician-assisted death.

“I’m sad to hear of the case,” Collins said. “I pray for God’s blessing upon that person and their family but it’s not the way to go.”

Collins said his statement simply aims to encourage people to reflect on the potential impact of accessible doctor-assisted death and whether it’s beneficial for Canadians.

“Has it come to this in our country where killing people is seen as healthcare?” he said “I think people just need to think carefully and say, ‘What has happened to our country?’”

With files from Ashley Carter

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