On Aug 6, the leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole, unveiled an election platform that promised conscience protection for medical professionals. The relevant section read:
“We will protect the conscience rights of healthcare professionals. The challenges of dealing with COVID-19 have reminded us of the vital importance of health care professionals – the last thing Canada can afford to do is drive any of these professionals out of their profession….”
The same day he doubled down on conscience protection by coming out against mandatory vaccinations for federal employees.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “conscience protection” or guaranteeing people “freedom of conscience,” this is allowing those who think differently than we do, to act in a way consistent with their own beliefs. So, for examples, we allow pacifists to be exempt from fighting in the army (though they may be required to serve in the mess hall). In Alberta, Hutterites are allowed to have driver’s licenses without pictures, because they object to being photographed. We don’t share these beliefs, but we still make room for them because we’re treating them as we would like to be treated (Matt. 7:12) were the positions reversed and it was our own convictions that didn’t match with what the majority believed.
Just four days after taking a stand for conscience protection, O’Toole backed down. He now insisted that if doctors didn’t provide euthanasia they should be required to refer for it, directing the “patient” to another doctor who is willing.
His new position makes no sense when we consider what those who oppose euthanasia know it to be. We don’t just find it distasteful. This is the willful killing of another human being, which God forbids in the Sixth Commandment. This is murder.
And for Christians who recognize just how wicked euthanasia and abortion are, O’Toole isn’t doing us any favors. Under Canada’s criminal code, arranging for someone to be murdered is an indictable offense, punishable by as much as a life sentence. That’s as it should be – arranging a murder is a monstrous evil. Yet this is the bone O’Toole is throwing to his social conservative backers: we don’t need to do the killing ourselves; but he will do what he can to force us to be accessories before the fact.