Dear Prime Minister:
On behalf of the Diocese of Niagara I write to express my support of Bill C-300, the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act, a private member’s bill which requests the federal government to present legislation to parliament to enact a national strategy for suicide prevention.
The bishop’s letter goes on to note:
Yet Canada is still one of the few countries in the western world not to have a national strategy on suicide prevention despite the efforts of many experts and volunteers over the years.
It is my belief that we are all created in the image of God and thus we must do all in our power to preserve and protect the dignity of every human life. Creating a national strategy on suicide prevention is imperative in order to protect the sacred gift that is human life.
All true, of course, and worthy of support.
And yet, why is the stalwart bishop exerting his formidable influence on the government of Canada for this particular piece of legislation? Those last two sentences could equally well apply to the abysmal situation on abortion in Canada, a killing field that claims far more lives than suicide. One reason is that supporting an anti-suicide bill doesn’t really take much courage: who is likely to argue against it? Denouncing abortion would raise the hackles of all the trendy women priests in the diocese, enough to make the most doughty bishop quail.
A second reason is the gay component: the diocese is obsessed with legitimising homosexuality and, for some, this bill is aimed squarely at doing just that. Here is Philip Toone, NDP MP for Gaspésie, for whom the bill is a clarion call for societal change to normalise homosexual behaviour and eradicate “homophobia”. And that is a cause near and dear to the bishop and his senior clerics:
The issue of suicide is particularly worrisome to me. I cannot forget the recent suicide of Jamie Hubley, a 16-year-old gay man who was the victim of harassment by his peers. As member of the NDP’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender caucus, I was proud to hear our caucus’s LGBT critic, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, speak in the House of Commons on October 20, Spirit Day.
Spirit Day was started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan to remember the LGBT and questioning youth lost to suicide. Spirit Day is also a time to rally governments and institutions nationwide to denounce homophobic bullying, which is a major contributor to these tragic losses.
While I applaud the member for Kitchener—Conestoga for bringing the bill forward and recognizing that suicide is a medical issue that needs to be dealt with nationally, it is also true that suicide is much more than a medical issue. It is a social and economic issue as well.