Canada’s Suicidal Contradictions
Canada’s moral compass is with countless “true norths.” Our self-contradictory ethical standards are too visible to ignore. The latest example to appear is our national stance on suicide prevention. This month our nation saw the launching of a national suicide hotline. This is a very good thing, especially when suicide is the leading cause of premature death in this nation.
Meanwhile our federal government is opening wider doors for medically assisted suicide. It is one of the most obvious ethical contradictions in the world today. Sadly, most Canadians lack the sense of moral direction to notice.
Suicide Prevention Hotline
On Thursday November 30, the 9-8-8 hotline was officially launched. Its goal is to connect people with suicide prevention services as quickly as possible. Anyone can call or text and get access to trained professionals any time of the day, any day of the week.
The launch was led by the non-profit Center of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) but is funded by the federal government. About 12 people take their own lives every day in this nation. In this regard, the hotline is a welcome addition to a hurting country.
And Yet …
The contradiction lies in the fact that, since 2016, Canada has been making it progressively easier for people to commit suicide in hospital settings. Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) program is now the most widely used euthanasia program in the world. The count here surpassed that of the Netherlands in 2021. Between 2016 (when assisted suicide was legalized in California) and 2021 22 times as many people as California died, despite California having more people than Canada.
Initially, MAiD was supposed to only apply to those who had a terminal condition and whose death was “reasonably foreseeable.” The predictable slope-slipping accelerated in 2020 when this clause was removed. Now anyone with a “serious and incurable illness, disease or disability” is eligible.
In the Case of Mental Illnesses…
Mental illnesses do not qualify patients for euthanasia, but that is set to change as well. Beginning in March of 2024, anyone with a “treatment resistant” mental illness will have access to MAiD as well. There is talk of this amendment being postponed but only time will tell. So while one person is being given psychiatric help for suicidal ideation, someone else down the hall in the same hospital might be having an “assisted suicide” for the same problem.
Murdering Without a License
If this weren’t troubling enough, an Ontario man recently received 14 charges of second degree murder for “aiding and counseling suicide.” He allegedly sent sodium nitrite through the mail to people all over the world, “assisting” them to take their own lives. His real crime, according to Canadian law, only seems to be that he’s murdering without a license.
The contradictions reveal Canada is a confused and despairing country. Without reference to a Divine Lawmaker, secular ethics only strangle those who live by them. And that is what we are doing to our most vulnerable citizens in Canada. On the one hand, we aim to prevent suicide with a national hotline. On the other, we want to offer it to them, care of the taxpayers.
The Need for a Moral Compass
The inconsistency couldn’t be any more glaring, no matter how happily Liberal policy makers try and hide it with clever sounding linguistics. In a country that has proudly labelled itself “true north, strong and free,” the need for a moral compass, based on the objective values of Christ, is greater than ever.
Angelos Kyriakides loves to write about current events, apologetics, spiritual healing and theology. He holds an M.A. In Theological Studies from Regent College and currently serves as a Youth and Young Adult Pastor in Southern Ontario, Canada. He is also blessed with a loving family in his wife and two children.