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ERIC Number: EJ920696
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1184-0412
The Canadian Legal System, the Robert Latimer Case, and the Rhetorical Construction of (Dis)ability: "Bodies that Matter?"
Hayward, Sally
Developmental Disabilities Bulletin, v37 n1-2 p187-201 2009
This paper considers Judge Ted Noble's 1997 ruling of the Latimer case in terms of how it rhetorically constructs and privileges the normal, able-bodied status quo, while, at the same time, deconstructs and positions as inferior the "abnormal," dis-abled minority. In this case, Noble not only took the unprecedented step of granting Robert Latimer--the Saskatchewan farmer who killed his twelve-year-old disabled daughter, Tracy, by putting her into the front seat of his truck and poisoning her with carbon monoxide gas--a constitutional exemption, but also attempted to create a lenient category of murder called compassionate homicide. Although Latimer's eventual conviction of second-degree murder in 2001 might imply that justice was done, the violent and decidedly unconstitutional rhetoric employed by Noble points to the way in which the law legitimates normative models of personhood and citizenship that rest, problematically, on the elimination, figuratively and literally, of people, who, like Tracy Latimer, disturb the "normal" vision and would, in Noble's terms, be "better off dead." (Contains 7 footnotes.)
J.P. Das Developmental Disabilities Centre. 6-102 Education North, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G5, Canada. Tel: 780-492-4505; Fax: 780-492-1318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada