Presentation today will examine the ethics of the Robert Latimer case

The recent decisions of the National Parole Board to first refuse and then, upon appeal, to grant day parole for Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer has given rise to the latest controversy about his punishment for the murder of his 12-year-old daughter, Tracy Latimer. Crucial to this topic has been the "othering" of Tracy Latimer, a child with cerebral palsy, and how her life has been devalued as a life not worth living by those who support her father’s actions.  

Today, at 12pm, the York Centre for Practical Ethics hosts Faculty of Health Professor Geoffrey Reaume (right), who will deliver a presentation titled, “Othering Tracy Latimer: Why Robert Latimer’s Day Parole is Wrong”. The presentation is part of the McLaughlin Lunch Talks and takes place in the McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College. Reaume is the acting graduate program director of the Critical Disability Program at York and a professor in the School of Health Policy & Management in York’s Faculty of Health.

This presentation will ask: What are the dangers to Canadian society now that Robert Latimer has been granted day parole? What are the possible repercussions for the civil liberties and human rights of people with disabilities by the position of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which supports the perpetrator of this crime? Is it possible for people with disabilities to be fully "included" in Canadian society when there are vocal proponents across the country justifying the murder of a child by her father because she was disabled? Reaume will argue that the need to keep Robert Latimer in prison is a matter of common humanity and justice if the life of Tracy Latimer, and the lives of all people with disabilities, are to have any value in society.

The York Centre for Practical Ethics is located in 119 McLaughlin College. The centre was established in 1994 to further research in the field of practical ethics and to support the teaching of practical ethics at York University. One of the centre’s goals is to raise awareness of practical ethics and to facilitate the integration of ethics into the everyday life of the community it serves, including businesses, government and the professions.

More about Geoffrey Reaume

Reaume completed his graduate studies in history at the University of Toronto. His doctoral thesis, Remembrance of Patients Past, was published as a book in 2000. It explored patient life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, Ontario’s oldest psychiatric hospital. His work has allowed for a patient-centred perspective on the rise of the lunatic asylum through its detailed investigation of institutional case files. His second book, Lyndhurst: Canada’s First Rehabilitation Centre for People with Spinal Cord Injuries, 1945-1998, was published in 2007. He teaches Mad People’s History in the Critical Disability Studies MA and PhD programs at York University and is one of the organizers of the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto. He also teaches in the School of Health Policy and Management in York’s Faculty of Health. 

For more on Reaume, see the Feb. 13, 2007 isse of YFile.