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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Thursday, May 19, 2016
Candid Thoughts on Justin Trudeau's "elbowing" in the House of Commons
In Canada, the Liberal government wants to push through legislation that will legalize assisted suicides (in certain cases).

Make no mistake, we are living in a secular culture during an unprecedented time of moral decay.  No right thinking person expects a godless culture to pursue godly morals; and it is for this reason that Christians ought to focus on changing the culture rather than changing the laws - since the laws will always (as we see today) begin to line up with the culture.  I am not suggesting that Christians ought to embrace moral ambiguity, or the godless culture they find themselves in.  I am not saying that Christians should throw their hands up in defeat and go along with the culture.  I'm saying that the laws of the land will always end up reflecting the values of culture.  If the culture is immoral, the laws will reflect that.  The way to effectively change the law, is to change the culture.

Consider the recent legitimizing of the LGBT culture.  Legislation only came only after the culture war had been decided.  The reason weren't discussing gender identity 30 years ago, was because the culture 30 years ago could not bear it.  In a democracy, policy reflects the cultural moral norms.  If you want to create a law that runs contrary to those norms, it won't pass, and if it does pass, it won't stick.

The Canadian culture is already primed for doctor assisted suicides.  The picture that sells this legislation is that of mercy: allowing the terminally ill patient who endures excruciating pain daily, to meet death early and with dignity.  Why should they suffer for weeks or months, if they are ready to die right now?

I don't have any statistics to back it up, but it sure seems to me that in Canada, the majority of people would be on board with that.  No one wants to suffer, and so if we have a law in place that allows terminally ill people to opt out of weeks or months of needless suffering - this culture will likely embrace that.

But in other nations where this kind of legislation has been introduced, it has been implemented without penalty or policing, in instances far more ambiguous than the show-cased scenario.  In Belgium, for instance, the organs of those who have been euthanized are harvested. Likewise, a recent study noted that in Belgium 66 out of 208 cases of ‘euthanasia’ (32%) occurred in the absence of request or consent.  In the Netherlands, dozens of disabled children have been euthanized under the Groningen protocol, and simply being "old and tired" is considered a reasonable enough reason to be euthanized.  People have been, and are being assisted in their suicides, (some without consent), for such reasons as chronic ailments, depression, or just being elderly.


What we've seen in Europe (at least in those 4 countries where this sort of legislation exists) is whole industries springing up around this sort of legislation.  It is difficult to remain objective when your industry depends upon securing the cash involved in assisting someone's death - especially when the institution that stands to benefit from the death of it's client, is given the power of attorney to make decisions on behalf of the patients.

It reminds me of that scene from Monty Python's, "The Holy Grail" where John Cleese is attempting to get Eric Idle (who is collecting the dead bodies of plague victims) to accept as dead, an old man whom John Cleese wants to be rid of.  The old man is very much alive, announcing himself to be healthy and happy.  Neither Cleese nor Idle are concerned with the life of the old man, except as it pertains to what they are each attempting to do - Cleese wants to be rid of the old man, so he argues he is dead, and idle cannot accept a live person, so he too wants the old man to be dead - but since he is clearly alive they are at an impasse.  Their discussion continues as the old man gives every indication of wanting to live, but his desires and concerns remain background noise to the decisions being made on his behalf. The solution?  A comedic club to the old man's head.  Idle gets his money, Cleese gets rid of this burden - and everyone is happy.

I don't think the skit was intended to be a social commentary on assisted suicide, but it is sobering to think that this sort of approach isn't far off the mark in countries where assisted suicide is being practiced.


The reason this kind of thing is already going on where assisted suicide has to do with the lack of clarity concerning implementation and policing.  Had more thought (and effort) gone into identifying how the law could be abused, we wouldn't be seeing (routinely) this sort of abuse of the original intention.

It follows that some politicians feel that fast-tracking this sort of legislation in Canada would be a mistake.  People who are not necessarily opposed to the notion of assisted suicide, may well be opposed to fast-tracking the same legislation, because they have legitimate reason (and ample evidence) to be concerned about how this may (and almost certainly will) go south if diligence is ignored. 

The Liberal Government is trying to have this matter wrapped up by June 6th (2016) - the arbitrary deadline given to the government by the Canadian Supreme Court.  If the bill does not pass by then, assisted suicides will still be legal, but no legislative protections would be in place to ensure that the original intent of the law is being followed.  For example:
  • You wouldn't need a second medical opinion
  • You wouldn't need a written request (proof of the request)
  • You wouldn't need a waiting period to think it over
  • You wouldn't need to be a Canadian citizen (think suicide tourism...)
  • etc.
In other words, it is crazy important to have the legislation in place before the law goes into effect.

That means either the Government must fast track everything, or alternately the Supreme Court must grant an extension to the June 6th deadline.


Given the moral impact of this kind of legislation (the definition of how/when human life is going to be legally protected in this country is about to change), many who are opposed to fast-tracking the legislation, would argue that being able to make an arbitrary deadline (and thus save political face), isn't a good enough reason to curtail the (some would say) necessary fleshing out of this bill.  It isn't about meeting arbitrary deadlines, or making your opponents lose face by missing the same deadlines - it is about making sure that when the legislation comes into being, it is as air-tight and comprehensive as something this important ought to be.


But...(sigh)...  politics.

The debate is formally a non-partisan debate - i.e. MPs are allowed to vote their conscience, and represent their constituencies accordingly.  Allowing a non-partisan vote was the right thing to do, since failure to do so would have made the Liberal party look ... well, less liberal - and frankly, this kind of vote ought to be informed, as best as can be at least, by the collective conscience of the nation.

Yet for all that, rather than pursue an extension to the arbitrary June 6th deadline, the Liberal government has curtailed debate on the matter by imposing time allocation restrictions on debate, effectively saying, we've debated this matter enough - let's move on, before the majority of those who wish to speak to the matter have had an opportunity to do so.

This is the first time curtailment measures have ever been imposed on an issue that deals with the sanctity and dignity of human life.  Time allocation exists in Parliament to overcome political filibustering and the like.  But in this case, there is no effort by the opposition to filibuster - rather it is that members of all parties (including the Liberals who hold a majority in the house) who are being told they will not be given the opportunity to speak to the issue, for themselves or their constituents, that are being shut down by what some would argue is a flagrant abuse of this particular tool.

To be fair, once a tool like this exists, it will be abused, and has been abused by other political parties when they were in power.  In other words, we shouldn't conclude that the Liberals are doing something that (for example) the Conservatives didn't do before them - when they employ this tactic - what is new is that they would employ it in something non-partisan, and something so profoundly important - something no government (to my knowledge at least), has ever been willing to do.

The average Canadian doesn't bother chewing their news before swallowing it, and by that I mean, that they haven't the time, energy, or interest to actually examine the headlines, much less examine what is going on behind those headlines. 

In this case the Liberal government was pushing through a vote before many in the House of Commons had the opportunity to discuss it.  When it came time to vote, one person from each party (called a "whip") is tasked with presenting himself or herself before the speaker to indicate that the party in question is accounted for and ready to vote.  The Torry whip, Gord Brown failed to make his way up to the speaker at the appointed time, ostensibly because he was standing behind a group of New Democratic MPs who were between himself and the speaker.

Brown could easily have walked through or around this small group of about a dozen MPs, but he chose instead to stand among them long enough that the Prime Minister himself walked out across the commons floor, through the loose crowd of MPs, to grab Brown, and drag him like a wilful child through to little crowd that Brown had refused to walk through, depositing him on the other side, to a round of applause - even as the Prime Minister returned to his own seat.

I doubt Trudeau even noticed that he elbowed New Democratic MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the chest when he marched Brown through the little crowd - but Brosseau was apparently so affected by the blow that she missed being there for the vote.



Where to begin?

Well, Brown shouldn't have been obstructing the political process by faking an inability to present himself to the speaker.  As the Chief Opposition whip, he has a responsibility to perform his duties efficiently and professionally - even when being efficient doesn't suit his own political agenda.  That's what responsibility looks like.  It is shameful that he, along with those New Democratic MPs, colluded to waste time in the House of Commons.

Trudeau shouldn't have grabbed Brown, and physically dragged him through the little crowd.  If Trudeau had grabbed a female MP and physically dragged her against her will through a similar crowd, we wouldn't be hearing about an accidental elbowing.

The New Democrat MPs shouldn't have been colluding with Brown to "hinder" him from performing his duties as a whip.

The Liberal Government should be more concerned about the quality of the legislation than they are pushing through than whether or not they can push it through in time to meet an arbitrary Supreme Court deadline (June 6th).

We all should be concerned that our Prime Minister physically forced another Member of Parliament to do something that member wasn't willing to do. That is not the temperament of a democratic leader, it is the temperament of a dictator.  I could care less that he accidentally elbowed someone.  We call that an accident because it wasn't intentional.  What was intentional was the fact that he grabbed another person, and dragged them along like a bully, and that he was applauded for doing so.

Brown should be ashamed that it came to that, and he shouldn't have been behaving like a child - but even if the Prime Minister was provoked by this kind of childish behavior - the Prime Minister should have risen above it rather than sullied himself by going five notches lower.

Finally, we should note the irony: what Prime Minister Trudeau did physically to Gord Brown, he did politically to the rest of Canada with regards to Bill C14 (assisted suicide).  It says something about the man - something that some people would applaud, and something that others would condemn.

I'm okay with Justin Trudeau accidentally elbowing  people.  That shouldn't be news.  What I am not okay with is the leader of our nation impatiently dragging an MP around the commons floor, because of what that says he is not only willing to do to this country - but is demonstrably doing to this country right now - in forcing a vote on Bill C14 before debate had ended on it.


posted by Daniel @ 3:29 PM  
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