Saturday, January 19, 2019

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Latimer, Robert

In 1993, Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer rerouted carbon monoxide into the cab of his truck while his severely handicapped daughter was inside, and allowed her to die. After a succession of court decisions and appeals, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Latimer is guilty of second degree murder and must spend a minimum of ten years in prison. Latimer’s decision—or crime—has literally every sector of Canadian society doing contortions. Extremists from both ends of the spectrum are tripping over their own righteous certainties, while the rest of us struggle to figure out whether Latimer’s actions were the right thing to do, and more generally, if there really is a right thing to do in such a situation. Meanwhile most of us agree that the Prime Minister ought to exercise his right to commute Latimer’s sentence so that he can go on with what’s left of his life as a decent, thoughtful man who circumstances once put into an impossible situation.

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