outside the Supreme Court were demonstrations, and inside lawyers argued passionately whether assisted suicide and
euthanasia should be legalized. The
judges repeatedly questioned lawyers on
both sides of the issue.
It became clear our country is at a threshold, with the Supreme Court set to determine whether the threshold will be crossed.
The Court has been to this threshold
21 years ago in a very similar case. They
ruled then by the narrowest of margins
that the law prohibiting assisted suicide
The government’s objectives of preserv-
ing life and protecting people with dis-
abilities prevailed over the desires of some
to be assisted in ending their lives.
The majority of judges in the 1993
Rodriguez case spoke of the sanctity of
human life and how its promotion is a
basic principle of Canadian law.
It was only a few decades before that,
in the early 1970s, that attempted suicide
was decriminalized. Parliament had
concluded that prosecuting someone if
they were unsuccessful was not helpful
in promoting life.
However, assisting someone to commit suicide remains illegal. This is consistent with the government’s purposes
to promote life, dissuade people from
committing suicide, and protect the
vulnerable from being persuaded to commit suicide.
Yet some argue keeping assisted suicide illegal infringes on the rights of
those who cannot kill themselves without help – that their disability places
them at a disadvantage.
Government lawyers expressed frustration at this argument. Is the solution
then to grant a right to assistance to
those who would demand it, or is the
dilemma resolved by re-criminalizing
If the government wants to protect life
and discourage suicide, how is it to
legislate in light of the Charter of Rights
Amid all the legal arguments in the
courtroom, one issue upon which all
would agree is the importance of access-
The EFC intervened in two
Supreme Court cases in October.
Decisions in both cases are not
expected until 2015.
In the euthanasia case (www.
theEFC.ca/Carter) the EFC defended
Canada’s laws prohibiting
euthanasia and assisted suicide
against parties seeking to have
those laws overturned. The EFC
had already intervened in this case
before the B.C. Court of Appeal.
The case on prayer and
religious freedom ( www.theEFC.
ca/Saguenay) considered whether
Charter of Rights and Freedoms for
elected bodies to choose to begin
their deliberations with prayer.
EFC supporters are invited to
pray for the Supreme Court judges
as they deliberate and to support
these legal interventions financially
Prostitution law reform
The EFC’s Julia Beazley presented
the EFC’s response to Canada’s
prostitution bill before a senate
committee this fall. Watch a
videorecording at www.theEFC.
Worldwide prayer for
On nov. 9 Canadians can join
with Christians in more than 130
countries in prayer for believers
who are suffering, even dying,
for their faith. Visit www.idop.
ca for more information on this
annual event, including free
downloadable resources produced
by the EFC and four other
The Canadian network of Ministry to Muslims is holding its
national conference in Richmond
Hill, Ont., nov 6-8.
The annual EFC prayer summit
for bilingual and francophone
ministry leaders is Jan. 26-28 in
to find out what else is new or
to publicize your own event.
november’s calendar features
events in Kelowna, Richmond,
Edmonton, Saskatoon, Waterloo,
Mississauga, Toronto, St-Hyacinthe,
Moncton and Grand Falls-Windsor.
President meets bishops
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger
attended the plenary assembly
News FROM THE EFC
a time to care, a time to act
People nearing death need our care and tangible expressions of love
THE GATHERING PLACE
BRucE J. clEmENgER
Find out about news stories
like these and more at
Learn how to take action on
the issues you care about at
Visit Faith Today and
the EFC on Facebook
and Twitter for breaking news, great
links and lively discussion.
of the Canadian Conference of
Catholic Bishops (CCCB) this fall,
together with David Freeman of
the Christian & Missionary Alliance.
Freeman co-chairs the Evangelical-
Roman Catholic Dialogue, an
initiative co-sponsored by the EFC
and the CCCB.