Saturday, February 7, 2015


Words applied to a topic are like brush strokes applied to a canvas.  A commendable interpretation of a subject requires understanding of the theme and understanding of what words do.  Set ten artists at their easels to paint an identical subject and the result will be ten distinct renditions. Ten pairs of artists' eyes uniquely observe details and depth of field and darks and lights and call for personalized selections of brushes, colours and strokes. Ten opinions about Doctor Assisted Suicide assess the February 6, 2015 Supreme Court of Canada judgement individually. The words that are chosen to speak about this are critical to the social outcome. 

Parliament must within the next twelve months develop a legislative response. None of the three major political parties has expressed a position on this highly sensitive matter. Thousands of citizens, journalists, preachers will express a position.

An artist in good health and with vitality, asked to paint an interpretation of life and death, may spend a month developing two pleasant panels, one depicting a newborn infant in the arm of an ecstatic mother clad in pink and another panel featuring a flag at half-mast against a bright blue sky. A different painter, faced with the same art challenge but who is living with incapacitating pain and who can no longer focus for sixty seconds on the art that once filled his mind and life, might take a house painter's brush and slap one half of a canvas with black to represent life, and the other half with radiant yellow to represent death.  
It will be crucial for legislators, citizens, journalists, and preachers to understand why the second artist painted as he did. It is imperative that words are chosen that are precise and that appropriately respect, eternal values, Canadian charter rights, personal autonomy, and sanctity of life.  The painting rivals the complexity of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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