For nearly 100 years we have been drilling holes through our groundwater in search of our rich oil and gas deposits, with regulatory standards improving over the decades, first under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board, then the Energy Resources Conservation Board, then the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, and finally the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).
In the past, complaints by landowners of groundwater contamination have been routinely negotiated between the landowner and the drilling company, generally leading to a new water well being drilled and no conclusion found as to whether contaminations were natural or industry caused.
In February of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada made a landmark ruling striking down the Criminal Code’s prohibition on doctor assisted dying, effective February 2016. In order to allow Parliament to enact new legislation governing when and under what circumstances an individual may obtain the assistance of a doctor to die with greater control and dignity, the Supreme Court delayed enforcement of its ruling for a year. Public polls in Canada have indicated that a majority of citizens want laws that enable greater control over dying with the assistance of medical professionals.
Six months after this far-reaching decision, the Harper government has made no real effort to engage the provinces, medical professionals or Canadians to determine under what circumstances we will allow an individuals to make the incredibly personal and difficult decision to end an incurable disease or chronic suffering and choose, with the help of their family, the conditions and timing of death.