Latimer Still Says Killing Daughter Was "The Right Thing"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 21, 2006
REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--Robert Latimer still believes killing his daughter, Tracy, was the right thing to do.
"If it's the right thing, it shouldn't be illegal. That's my argument,'' he recently told the Canadian Press.
Latimer said that he just doesn't understand why people with disabilities don't see that gassing to death the 12-year-old girl was an act of mercy -- of love.
After all, she had cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and was in pain, he says.
"There should be a lot more understanding there," Latimer told the Canadian Press.
Never mind that she was scheduled for surgery intended to relieve her pain, or that Tracy's family and teachers said she was a happy girl who loved people.
Latimer was convicted of murder for the October 1993 crime, and sentenced to life in prison without parole for at least 10 years. His first possible parole date is less than 15 months away.
Over the last thirteen years, the case has been a focal point of the debate between disability rights advocates who see Tracy's death as one of countless examples of extreme abuse of people with disabilities, and people who believe that euthanasia is justified when the victim has a severe disability.
Disability rights advocates successfully argued before Canada's Supreme Court in 2000 that Latimer should serve the minimum 10 years of his life sentence, even though civil liberties groups countered that putting him in prison at all was too extreme a punishment.
"The notion that this is somehow a mercy killing is very disconcerting to people with disabilities because what it says to us is our lives are not worth the same as another non-disabled Canadian," said attorney Hugh Scher, who served for six years as Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.