July 31, 2018, Vancouver – The Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia (CPABC) is committed to protecting the rights of people living with Cerebral Palsy. CPABC opposes granting Robert Latimer a pardon for taking the life of his daughter, Tracy, in 1993.
Mr. Latimer killed 12-year-old Tracy by piping exhaust fumes into the cab of his truck after placing her inside. He claims it was a mercy killing as Tracy was in pain because she lived with a severe form of cerebral palsy. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to a minimum sentence of 10 years. He was granted parole day parole in 2008 and full parole in 2010.
Cerebral palsy affects one in 500 people in Canada – in BC there are more than 10,000 individuals living with CP today, including 2,600 children. Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood disability, affecting motor skills and muscle control. CPABC believes each person with cerebral palsy or any other disability has a right to live their life fully and respectfully, and to reach their maximum potential within a diverse society.
Tracy Latimer had the incontrovertible right to live. Her life, though impacted by disability and pain like many others, was worth living like anyone else’s. Robert Latimer’s unspeakable actions denied her that possibility, without her consent and without repeal. Tracy deserved to be treated as an equal in life, and her death considered equally unpardonable.
A 2001 Supreme Court of Canada decision to uphold Latimer’s sentencing demonstrated that the rights of people with disabilities should not be viewed differently from those of all Canadians. The decision supported the premise that every person has the undeniable right to live a life inclusive of personal choice, acceptance and appreciation for each person’s unique differences.
CPABC Executive Director Feri Dehdar says, “Tracy Latimer’s death is an irreversible and tragic loss. Out of this loss, should come the assurance that the rights of people with disabilities will be preserved in the future. A pardon would send a chilling message to the disability community, that their lives are worth less than others’. We strongly encourage Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to deny this pardon as his actions are unforgiveable.”
Feri Dehdar, Executive Director
Cerebral Palsy Association of BC
(604) 408-9484, 1-800-663-0004
The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC was started in 1954 by a group of parents who wanted to assist their children living with CP to reach their maximum potential within society. We provide support, education, and information throughout BC.