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Robert-Falcon Ouellette questions impact of doctor-assisted dying on Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

by Kristy Hoffman, CBC News, 15 April 2016

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, a Canadian Liberal MP, is questioning the impact of legalising assisted suicide on indigenous people, arguing that “This will be a right that will become entrenched and the impacts on vulnerable groups will become entrenched and it’s very hard to stop.”

Historically, the concept of suicide was unknown to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, according to Ouellette. He described it as counter-intuitive to indigenous culture.

“You were out there in the natural world, you were fighting for survival each and every day,” he said.

“When I go to my Sun Dance ceremonies, when I go to meet with the elders and we are in our lodges, I have my Sun Dance Chief, David Blacksmith, who said, ‘We must fight the spirit of suicide. We must work each and every day to defeat it.’ That, to me, is important.”

Click here to read the full article.

Mr Ouellette’s concerns were endorsed in a letter from Richard Egan of Australia, who noted that the Australian Senate’s 1996 report on overturning the Northern Territory’s brief legalisation of assisted suicide:

detailed concerns that indigenous health, already seriously below par with that of other Australians, would be further set back as indigenous people were afraid and unwilling to go to a hospital where one of the “treatments” on offer was a lethal jab.

Click here to read the letter.


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