Recently, I received an email which brought to the recipients' attention that a veteran had been offered the option of medically assistance in dying when he reached out to Veterans Affairs Canada for assistance. The email expressed shock and condemnation that such action would be offered in place of “LIFE-affirming care that everyone deserves.” The email implied that this was government policy which promoted this option rather than other options. After reading the CBC report that raised the issue, apparently this was a one-time circumstance that was a result of lack of training on the part of the person responding to the request. However, there is also a concern regarding insufficient mental health care being provided to families of veterans.
I certainly share the concern expressed in the email that veterans and their families should receive the Life-affirming care that they especially deserve given their service and sacrifice to the country. And I sincerely hope that this was indeed a one-time occurrence based on insufficient training which can happen in the best run organizations and not an unofficial policy to address limited resources which does happen in government departments at times. This raised the issue for me of what the position was of the Anglican Church of Canada on medically assistance in dying. Well, as it happened, the September edition of the Anglican Journal had an article on the issue and linked to a paper issued by the Anglican Church in 2016, In Sure and Certain Hope which is intended as a, “Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying.” This report is a review of a report, Care in Dying, which was commissioned by the Anglican Church in 1998. Sorry for the somewhat convoluted introduction but as they say, “The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.”
Next week, I will attempt to summarize the document In Sure and Certain Hope which provides, I believe, a good perspective on this very complex and vexing issue for Christians.
Blessings this day on your journey.
I acknowledge that we are on Turtle Island, the original homelands of the many Indigenous Nations who have lived since time immemorial in Canada or as many First and other Indigenous Nations All of the lands in Canada are the subject of up to one hundred Treaties signed by the Crown in the right of Canada with these Nations. I will only mention a few of the Nations: the Cree, Ojibway, Blackfoot, Blood, Dakota, Mig M'ag, Huron, Inuit and these lands are also home to the Metis people.