December 1, 2014

TORONTO – Watching the world slide down a slippery slope to euthanasia and assisted suicide, or "medical aid in dying," is disheartening to a Second World War veteran who confronted state-sanctioned killing while helping to liberate Europe.

"I am 91 and it is probably a good thing you don't live to 150 because it is really hard to buy a lot of this garbage that is going on," said Father Robert Greene, rector of St. Andrew Anglican Church in Gleichen, Alta. "This is a crazy society we are in."

For Greene, active in the pro-life movement since the 1960s, seeing the rise in support for euthanasia and assisted suicide is an affront to what he and 1.1 million other Canadians fought against during the Second World War.

"I took part in the liberation of Holland so I'm quite familiar with what happened there," said Greene, who served in Europe with a tank crew. The Nazi commander told some 60,000 doctors there to kill Jews.

"The 60,000 doctors said if you follow through (with forcing us to do so) we will all turn in our licences. It was the greatest act of civil disobedience during the war, and [the Nazis] backed down. Today in Holland it is the very opposite."

Holland was the first country to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide back in 2002, and the number of suicides has increased from about 1,900 that first year to more than 4,800 last year.

"I've been to Holland many times and . . . this was a real turnaround I can't understand," said Greene.

Belgium and Luxembourg have also legalized euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide while other European nations are contemplating doing so.


Three American states have legalized assisted suicide and two others have had the practice declared valid by courts. Last summer Quebec became the first Canadian province to approve physician-assisted suicide through its "medical aid in dying" legislation, Bill 52.

Canada has been on a slippery slope for years, said Greene. "We shouldn't cast stones at other people because it has been happening here too."

While in Toronto for speaking engagements on his experiences as a soldier, Greene attended the deVeber Institute's annual lecture at Tyndale University College and Seminary Nov. 6.