This has always been in case in case in Canada. That is, unless you are of Aboriginal descent.
I am, of course, referring to two cases that have recently brought this discrepancy in our laws to light. In one, the Ontario Court ruled that a 9-year-old girl (known in the media as "J.J") suffering from leukemia cannot be forced into chemotherapy against her parents wishes. Instead, her parents are choosing to treat their daughter's cancer at a ill-reputed clinic in Florida, with massage therapy and a diet of raw food. Let's be clear on this - cancer is an awful disease. It turns people's bodies against themselves, ravages them, and can leave them emaciated and a shell of themselves. People survive it because of the leaps and bounds we've made in medical and public health science over the years. Not because of eating salad.
This is allowed to happen because the family is Aboriginal and as such, is allowed to pursue traditional medicine under the Constitution Act of 1982.
This case follows close on the heels of a similar case that allowed an 11-year-old girl, Makayla Sault, to forgo chemotherapy, and is now receiving treatment at the same Florida clinic as J.J.
In the past, Canadians decision-makers have often failed to protect the rights of Aboriginal children and even worse, they have often single handedly harmed them. In J.J.'s and Makayla's case, we were given the opportunity to protect the well-being of two girls of Aboriginal descent and we failed.
There's little that I can say on this issue that has not already been said, and to avoid unintentional plagarism, I'll leave it at that. André Picard likely said it best in his article, "...in this case, the court decided that the parents’ aboriginal rights take precedence over the life, liberty and security of an individual child....The affirmation of aboriginal rights should not condemn children to second-class treatment and death."