Today there are thousands of terminally ill patients in long term care facilities across Canada. There are countless of elderly people in care facilities that have repeatedly expressed a desire to die. Should these people be allowed to die, or should they be forced to keep on living? This question has plagued ethicists and physicians for decades. Euthanasia is the act of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a painless way for reasons of mercy. Another term used for euthanasia is assisted suicide. Supporters of euthanasia feel that ending a person's life can be justifiable if the person is in severe pain and sincerely wants to die. Opponents and the law in Canada on the other hand, contend that killing and suicide are always wrong and can never be justifiable even if it was for reasons of mercy. The issue of assisted suicide has developed into a debate on many fronts - morally and legally. The euthanasia debate reflects a moral and legal dilemma between those who feel that ending suffering should take priority over the preservation of life and those who believe that mercy killing and suicide can never be justified. .
The first and perhaps most important front of the debate is the legal aspect of euthanasia. Both the Canadian Parliament and The Supreme Court of Canada face difficult decisions arising from the ongoing debate in the area of doctor assisted suicide. Quite simply put, the Criminal Code of Canada at its current state completely prohibits both euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide. Euthanasia falls under the murder provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada which prohibits the "deliberate and intentional killing of another innocent human being." Two sections of Canada's Criminal Code are relevant: .
"14. No person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted on him, and such consent does not affect the criminal responsibility of any person by whom death may be inflicted on the person by whom consent is given.