Refusing to do harm

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The Article

In the time since I last wrote on the topic, Canada’s various “human rights” kangaroo courts have publicly retreated on several fronts. Several ludicrous cases brought against Mark Steyn’s writings in Maclean’s magazine, Ezra Levant’s editorial judgments in the (now defunct in print) Western Standard, and Fr. Alphonse de Valk’s in the magazine Catholic Insight—have been dismissed by the tribunals. This, after more publicity had been given to the cases than the human rights bureaucracies felt comfortable with.

It should be mentioned that none of the defendants got off easily. Each was compelled to spend large amounts of money and time in the extremely aggravating process of dealing with large, faceless bureaucracies, staffed with their political enemies, functioning free of traditional legal restraints. By dismissing each case, after long drawn-out proceedings, the kangaroo courts were able to run up their chosen victims’ costs, while finally denying them the possibility of an appeal against judgment to a legitimate court of law, in which they might conceivably have recovered their expenses. “The process is the punishment.”

Canada’s taxpayer-supported “human rights” apparatchiks have decided that it is not yet time to directly challenge freedom of the press. They will bide their time, and return to the routine business of staging quasi-legal proceedings against defenceless victims, with no resources for lawyers, and no access to media publicity, until they have acquired more power.

That power is on the way. For instance, Dalton McGuinty’s government has recently committed many millions to a huge expansion of the Ontario kangaroo-court system, opening new star chamber facilities across the province, and providing a fresh supply of publicly funded lawyers and activists to assist the enemies of freedom in making their prosecutions. The argument behind all such “public investments” is the same: that complainants need a “resolution process” that is less “formal” than the one in our legitimate court system. In other words, they need kangaroo courts in which their victims are stripped of due process.

But a much more significant advance has now been proposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, to bring the tyranny of “political correction” to bear on its own membership. As usual, the process was being advanced in the dark, away from the possibility of public discussion, and was only pried open in the course of the last week when a large number of physicians, surgeons, and even politicians found out about it.

As I’ve written before, the “human rights” revolution that has been sweeping through Canada’s law schools and legal establishment depends on an Orwellian inversion of the term, “human rights.” For human rights were traditionally conceived as the individual’s legal and moral resort against the arbitrary power of unaccountable organizations. In the new definition, “human rights” become a device by which unaccountable organizations may crush that individual. “Human rights” have been ideologized, and collectivized. They now belong to groups, exclusively, and include principally the right not to be “offended” by the existence of an individual with a mind of his own.

In the case of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the targets are doctors who refuse to perform abortions on healthy women, prescribe morning-after pills, help same-sex couples conceive children, and so forth. The idea is to strip a doctor of his licence, should he or she allow moral conscience to stand in the way of delivering any state-sanctioned “medical services.”

The measure would also complete the inversion of the Hippocratic Oath, from the original “first do no harm,” to the position we previously associated with such doctors as Josef Mengele and Jack Kevorkian. Indeed, it would compel the physician to breach the Hippocratic Oath as a condition of practising.

The measure was—no surprise here, either—being advanced as a “pro-active” response to Premier McGuinty’s recent “human rights” “reforms.” As ever, each evil done creates scope for more evil.

The College’s measure promises to turn every conscientious doctor in this province into a Mark Steyn or Ezra Levant. Practically speaking, it would tend to drain the province’s already strained socialist “health care” system of its best doctors, leaving faithful Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all others of like mind, facing actual medical emergencies, exclusively in the hands of doctors they know to be either opposed to the sanctity of human life, or self-serving hypocrites.

The scandal here is not that doctors have the right in conscience to refuse “medical services” they find morally abhorrent. The scandal is rather that nurses, and all other health-care workers, were deprived of this right a long time ago. (Maurice Vellacott, MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, has long been promoting a private-member’s bill that would rectify this enormity.)

Vigilance is the price of our freedom. We must all become much better informed, and more “pro-active” ourselves, at a time when evil is making extraordinary strides under the cover of bureaucratic darkness.

David Warren
Latest posts by David Warren (see all)

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