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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/4/2014 (1227 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A question of ethics

Margaret Sommerville may be considered an authority on ethics, but she does a disservice to the discourse on the issue of assisted dying with her inflammatory language (How you define dignity shapes your view, April 5).

The term euthanasia has connotations of lack of consent, which ignores the prevailing value of autonomy at the core of this debate. Her frequent use of the word "killing" in the interview stokes emotions in a discussion better addressed in terms of human empathy, compassion and reason.

Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press files
Health Minister Erin Selby has come under fire following comments in a legislative committee meeting two weeks ago. She has since apologized.


Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press files Health Minister Erin Selby has come under fire following comments in a legislative committee meeting two weeks ago. She has since apologized.

Although she denies her ethics are guided by her Catholic religion, Sommerville's views on issues such as gay marriage, single-parent adoption, stem-cell research and abortion have placed her at odds with others in this discipline, and fit comfortably within Catholic doctrine.

When it comes to creating laws, our politicians need to keep in mind the secular values that are at the heart of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.




Margaret Sommerville doesn't come across as any type of authority on medical ethics or legal issues, nor does she say anything remotely beneficial about the role of dignity in the ongoing debate about euthanasia.

Her moral tone displays contempt for anyone who would dare to disagree with her that euthanasia is doctors killing their patients. She repeats it over and over.

She's correct on one point: Everyone involved in the euthanasia debate has a different interpretation of the word dignity. Sommerville's definition, that "dignity means we have certain protections and rights, among the most important of which is the right to life," is nothing more than an attempt to frame the issue of euthanasia with the already settled abortion issue.

I have never voted for MP Steven Fletcher, but he has my deepest respect for bringing the subject of euthanasia to the attention of Parliament.

Because of fear-mongering from the likes of Sommerville, Fletcher's proposed legislation won't pass. God has no place in this debate.




Pitch in to fix province

Re: Manitoba is falling ever further behind (April 9). Graham Lane seems to enjoy whining and complaining in his Free Press columns about the place where he lives (for at least five months out of the year -- wouldn't want to lose that free health care).

He implies he feels trapped here due to his deep roots, although it seems most of his roots have already scampered away.

If Lane feels so strongly Manitoba is in a downward spiral, perhaps he should spend less time down south lying in the sun and more time here trying to fix the problems he complains about. There are many local non-profits and political organizations where he can volunteer his time.

Of course, that sounds like a lot more work than whining, complaining and kicking back in the sun.




Mental illness stigmatized

In Monday's paper I read with interest the ad, sponsored by the Winnipeg Free Press, bringing stories during National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. The ad in question featured Carol de Delley. I was interested to learn more about her son Timothy McLean and cannot imagine the pain caused by his death.

The ad notes Vince Li was found not criminally responsible (NCR) for McLean's death, and "does not even have a criminal record."

Those found NCR are just that -- not responsible for their crime because of circumstances beyond their control. In Li's case, he had an undiagnosed mental illness.

The ad stigmatizes mental illness, whipping up negative public opinion. I respect Carol de Delley's right to speak out from her point of view, but I don't respect the manner in which this is presented.

The Free Press shouldn't sponsor such advertisements.




Shedding light on Chile

I'd like to express my satisfaction and gratitude for Neil Besner's review of the book Human Solutions, written by Chilean Avi Silberstein (Pinochet looms large in debut novel, April 5).

Besner's comment that U.S. governments ignore the reality of the republics to the south is only too true.

During the 20th century, the U.S. supported brutal dictatorships in order to gain control of natural resources in Central and South America. There were many open or covert interventions, but no genuinely friendly relations or respect for democracy.

As a victim of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, I hope this review might lead Canadians to read the novel and understand the truth.




Unlike the Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition, I believe most Canadians support the federal government's implementation of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act (Changes too restrictive: immigration advocates, April 7).

It makes perfect sense that in today's world, where turmoil, strife and terrorism run rampant in many countries and on many continents, that Canada take steps to make sure only good, decent, intelligent people have an opportunity to gain Canadian citizenship through our immigration and refugee systems.

It's the responsibility of the Canadian government to look after its current population first. The concerns of new immigrant and refugee applicants needs to take a back seat to the needs of the Canadian population.




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Updated on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 8:18 AM CDT: adds links

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