Canada's Contradictions, by Stephanie Gray

     Contradiction (con·tra·dic·tion \ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-shən\) the act of saying something that is opposite or very different in meaning to something else; a difference or disagreement between two things which means that both cannot be true. –Merriam Webster Dictionary

     A read of recent news reveals significant contradictions going on in Canada:

     ·         On one hand, a remote First Nations community in Northern Ontario, Attawapiskat, is facing a suicide crisis so dire they’ve called a state of emergency.  The federal government has responded by sending in mental health counselors to try to stop these deaths.

     ·         But on the other hand, that same federal government is in the process of forming a new law which would make suicide legal, possibly even allowing it for “mature minors” and the mentally ill. 

     Is suicide wrong because of what it is or because of where it’s done?  Do we really want to say it’s wrong when done on a First Nations reserve but right when done in a hospital?  Is suicide wrong because of what it is or because of who does it?  Do we really want to say it’s wrong if done by oneself but right if done with a physician’s assistance? 

     The tie that binds a suicidal teen and a suicidal elderly person is suffering (physical or emotional) to the point that they see no reason to live.  But because people are valuable and killing is wrong, civil societies pursue suicide prevention.  Suicide prevention is all about alleviating a person’s suffering without eliminating the person.  Suicide prevention is about giving hope.  In fact, as the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention points out,

     “‘Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out’ [Victor Havel].


     “Hope, at the darkest moments in our life, is not a comprehensive commitment to faith and belief.  At those times hope can be as simple and as profound as the voice of another human being who appears to hear our fear; hope can be the knowledge that the sun will rise tomorrow, hope can be the smell of fresh spring rain, or the first snow flake, or the photo of someone we love.  When despair seems to overcome us we feel disconnected, isolated, lost.  What we need most in those moments is a means of re-connection, relationship and belonging.” [Emphasis added] 

     As news of suicide spreads across the internet, another contradiction is circulating:

     ·         On one hand, people are horrified at a recent report  revealing that sex-selection abortion is happening among Indian immigrants to Canada, skewing the population’s sex ratio.  The Globe and Mail reported that “among Indian-born mothers, the proportion of males increased with the number of children born. By the third birth, 138 boys were born to Indian-born mothers for every 100 girls, and by the fourth birth, 166 boys were born to every 100 girls.”  The paper stated that over 4,000 girls are “missing” as a result.

     ·         On the other hand, Canada allows abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy—for any reason.  Rather than be horrified, all too often people celebrate this as a “woman’s right to choose.”

     Is abortion wrong because of what it does or because of why it's done?  Do we really want to say it’s wrong when the motivation is getting rid of girls, but okay when the motivation is getting rid of boys, the disabled, the inconvenient, or any human in general?

     The tie that binds a sex-selection abortion and another abortion is the rejection of the youngest humans among us based on the circumstances or wishes of older humans among us.  But because humans are valuable—whether they’re girls or boys—and because killing is wrong, civil societies should reject abortion.

     In brief, Canada can’t have it both ways.  If we are to deplore the suicides in Attawapiskat and if we are to deplore the sex-selection abortions among some Indian immigrants, then we should deplore all suicides and all abortions.