OTTAWA – A Conservative member of parliament has broken from the party line to come out in support of assisted suicide, after a renowned doctor’s posthumous video plea to legalize it.
Dr. Donald Low, who was a key figure during the SARS crisis, died earlier this month from brain cancer. But, before he died he recorded a video urging Canadians to reconsider legalizing assisted suicide.
Manitoba MP Steven Fletcher, the first and only quadriplegic member of cabinet, spoke out on the issue Wednesday to say he agrees with Low.
Low recorded the video just eight days before he died of a brain stem tumor.
The Conservative government has said it will not reopen the debate over legalizing assisted suicide, but Justice Minister Peter MacKay said he has spoken with Fletcher about his views.
“He holds a very personal view and a very personal perspective, given what Steven’s been through in his life,” MacKay said.
“Having said that, it is a very slippery slope when one starts to contemplate the various scenarios and the range of circumstances in which people can find themselves,” he said.
“We’re into the area of moral questions. And I simply do not believe it is in our best interest to open up the debate or to bring forward legislation that would change the current laws that are meant to protect people from abuse.”
*With files from The Canadian Press