Vulnerable need protection
Doctors aren’t the only members of the Jewish community who should be concerned about what legislation Parliament will introduce to comply with the Supreme Court decision in Carter vs. Canada (“Doctors wrestle with ethics of ‘assisted suicide”).
The report recently tabled by the parliamentary committee charged with proposing how to translate the court’s decision into law has gone much farther than the Supreme Court, which granted the right to physician-assisted death to a “competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual.”
The parliamentary committee proposed expanding the right to competent minors as well as to people with depression. Concerns have been raised by many that without adequate safeguards, people who are vulnerable because of psycho-social factors, such as loneliness or lack of adequate treatment, or motivated to reduce the drain on carers, or coerced by others, may be at risk.
A group of prominent Canadians and organizations, including the Canadian Council of Imams, the Christian Legal Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, have banded together to propose the Vulnerable Persons Standard to ensure that Canadians requesting assistance from physicians to end their life can do so without jeopardizing the lives of vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion or abuse.
Where is the Jewish community in this debate? Should we not be among the first to stand up for the vulnerable in our society?
Students don’t feel safe
I took great offence to the March 14 article “We feel safe on campus, York and Waterloo students say.”
While I cannot speak to the situation at University of Waterloo, I have experienced the anti-Semitic environment at York University first-hand. York is a place where an infamous mural glorifying violence against Israel hangs in the student centre months past its term limit; where the student federation is synonymous with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement; and where the actions of anti-Israel student activists go virtually unpunished by the administration.
Even at Osgoode Hall Law School, Jewish law students could not hold a bake sale for One Family Fund, supporting both Jewish and Arab victims of terror in Israel, without fomenting backlash and uproar from pro-Palestinian students on campus.
While I would never criticize the important cultural work that Hillel does on campuses across Canada, the political views presented in this article in no way reflect my own experience.
No fan of Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner is a celebrity and a winner of many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for drama, an Emmy award, two Tony awards, and on and on. There are many people who will want to meet him on his one-night visit to Toronto, but I am not one of them.
We are told Kushner will be discussing how he “tackles the most difficult subjects in contemporary history.” Will he be discussing one of his favourite topics: that the creation of the State of Israel was a mistake? Kushner has stated Israel’s founding was based on ethnic cleansing, criticized the Israeli army and supported groups that advocate boycotting Israel.
He is a member of the advisory board of the group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Among this group’s objectives is an end to U.S. aid for Israel and a call for boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel. JVP uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from charges of anti-Semitism and to provide it with legitimacy and credibility. It is not a voice for peace. It associates with radical, hateful organizations that seek the end of Israel.
Kushner is certainly entitled to his opinion. But no pro-Israel organization should be a sponsor of his presentation.