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Right to die?

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Should Canadians have the right to get help in ending their lives?It's an easy question with no easy answer. And yet it is one many are asking themselves again in the wake of a tragic case out of Quebec.In case you missed, it, a young man has been charged with assisting the suicide of his very sick, frail and suffering uncle. The man was found hanging in his home last fall, and a lengthy investigation has now resulted in criminal charges.On my radio show last weekend, I interviewed an author/expert on the subject who strongly believes Canadians should be allowed to make the choice to die - and then receive help in doing it.However, he isn't going so far to suggest that simply anyone can aid a suicide. He believes the system should be regulated so that specific doctors will be able to do the deed.We got a lot of on-air feedback on this issue. And it's clearly not going away anytime soon as our population ages and more families face these sort of life-or-death choices.Let me know where you stand - I've put up a new jury poll at my website, www.mikeoncrime.com, which asks you to vote on your opinion.*****On a somewhat related matter, convicted pedophile Peter Whitmore may have recently tried to exercise his right to die during a botched suicide bid inside a Regina jail cell.The Regina Leader Post reported earlier this week of a grisly attempt that included slashing his wrists and apparently trying to sever his penis with a tin can lid.Dan Brodsky knows Whitmore probably better then anyone in this country. As his long-time former lawyer, Brodsky has spent countless hours getting inside his client's head."I can't believe Peter would do that," Brodsky told me on the phone the other day upon hearing of the report.Although he is no longer acting for Whitmore (because of a Legal Aid squabble), Brodsky still keeps in touch with his former client. They last spoke about two weeks ago by telephone - around the time Whitmore apparently tried to mutilate and/or kill himself.If the report is indeed true, Brodsky believes this is only going to enhance something he first told me last fall after Whitmore had been arrested and charged with abducting and sexually assaulting two young boys in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.That would be Brodsky's claim that Whitmore is mentally ill. After all, who else but someone with serious head problems would attempt to castrate themselves, Brodsky said.It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Whitmore could be headed for trial as early as this fall, and we'll be watching closely to see if he tries to argue that a mental hospital - and not a prison - is the right place for him to be.And whether what apparently happened two weeks ago becomes a factor.

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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