* Humanist Perspectives: issue 196, Spring 2016

Humanist Perspectives: issue 196, Spring 2016

Issue 196, Spring 2016

cover of issue 196
Humanist Perspectives is a refreshing, rational analysis of modern events and culture and is available at select magazine stores or by online subscription.


Why are we still criminalizing compassion in Canada? by Madeline Weld
Tomorrow (February 25) Richard Thain and I will leave for Switzerland to watch a man whom I have yet to meet die. John Hofsess, a right to die activist from Victoria, BC, and head of the former Right to Die Society of Canada, is going to die on February 29, 2016, at the facilities of lifecircle (they don’t capitalize their name), near Basel, Switzerland…. This issue of Humanist Perspectives contains John’s Farewell Note, in which he explains why he is choosing to die now.

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A Farewell Note by John Hofsess
I am grateful to have received “a first-class death” with the legal assistance of lifecircle in Basel, Switzerland (February 29, 2016). There is, for me, no better way to die in the early part of the 21st century. I not only died on the right side of the law in Switzerland but on the right side of anticipated legislation in my native Canada….I am choosing to die at this time for three reasons...

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The Consensual Death of Al Purdy by John Hofsess
Al Purdy joined the Right to Die Society of Canada in 1997. Two years later, I was called upon (as the group’s founder) to give him advice about how best to end his life.… When Al wrote, requesting a private visit, he wanted to know what the Right to Die Society of Canada could do for him. He knew what doctors proposed for him. They’d been treating him for years. He wasn’t inclined to accept his death on their terms.… Al would have the quick, painless death that he desired. I, however, could become branded as his “murderer.” Under current Canadian law, there’s no official distinction between a mutually consensual act of compassionate death and a vicious killing…. In the last weeks of his life, Al seemed more relaxed. He had the comfort of knowing that a worrisome problem had been resolved…

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In addition, Humanist Perspectives offers a lively Letters-to-the-Editor section as well as Book Reviews, books available for review and snippets of international news of interest to humanists.