2015 will be an important year in discussing end of life issues in Canada. There is a federal election scheduled for October, and almost certainly the "Dying with Dignity" debate will be engaged. Indeed, two of the major political party leaders have stated that only those candidates whose views match those of their own, that Canadians should have the right to physician assisted suicide, will be eligible to run for their parties. Those parties are the NDP and the Liberals. In effect, on this important matter of conscience, the leaders have instructed their members to check their conscience at the door and toe the party line.
In effect, Catholics are not welcome in either the NDP or Liberal party. Aah, I hear you say, not every Catholic believes in protecting life from conception to natural death. Aye, there's the rub. Do you then believe it's cool if not every NDP or Liberal or Conservative actually believes in every plank of the party platform, swearing allegiance publicly but acting quite differently when it suits him?
I think the Catholic Church takes a lot of heat when it reminds it's members of the "rules", political parties not so much. In truth, no Catholic can in good conscience run for Justin Trudeau's party. That's too bad for two reasons. First, Catholics without good conscience will run and that will be seen as tacit endorsement by the church (since everyone knows every Catholic's every word and action is a reflection on the entire church, especially when it's bad), and secondly that the well-formed conscience of any denomination or faith tradition will not be in the room.
It will be our responsibility to watch carefully and rise above the emotion, as the results will effect generations to come. Powerful testimonial videos and interviews from suffering, terminally ill people will be the propaganda in favour of dying with dignity. Less easy to find will be video testimony from those who wish to live with dignity until their dying breath. Same prognosis, same pain, same suffering....different and uncomfortably unpopular expression of truth.