By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying released their pro-euthanasia report, one-day before the release of the report from the Federal Panel on Assisted Dying. Link to the report.
The Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group featured a stacked deck of pro-euthanasia activists. Maureen Taylor, who describes herself, on Twitter, as an advocate of assisted death, was a co-chair, while Jocelyn Downie, Canada's leading promoter of assisted death, and Arthur Schaefer is a long-time advocate of euthanasia and assisted suicide were also members.
There are 43 recommendations in the report. Many of the recommendations are similar to the euthanasia laws in Belgium and the Netherlands and a few are particularly concerning.
The Advisory Group is urging the government to implement regulations that will completely protect physicians, or other medical professionals, that participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide, but the protections for the persons who will die, are weak.
The 43 recommendations focus on the provision of death, not the protection of patients. I will focus on the following recommendations:
Recommendation 3: All provinces and territories should ensure access to physician-assisted dying, including both physician-administered and self-administered physician assisted dying. The recommendations set out in Appendix 3 should be implemented through provincial/territorial legislation.
3. The Advisory Group does not recognize a difference between euthanasia (physician-administered) and assisted suicide (self-administered).
Recommendation 4: Provinces and territories should require all regional health authorities to have an effective publicly funded care coordination system in place to ensure patient access to physician-assisted dying.
4. The Advisory Group supports the creation of a death bureaucracy in every region of the country.
Recommendation 5: Provincial/territorial governments should publicly fund physician-assisted dying.
5. The Advisory Group supports tax-payer funded assisted death.
Recommendation 8: Provinces and territories should request that the federal government amend the Criminal Code to allow the provision of physician-assisted dying by a regulated health care professional (registered nurse or, if applicable, physician assistant) acting under the direction of a physician, or a nurse practitioner. Provinces and territories should in turn ensure that no regulatory barriers exist that would prevent these health care professionals from providing physician-assisted dying.
8. The Advisory Group supports nurse participation in assisted death. Since the majority of doctors do not want to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide, this recommendation is designed to expand the number of willing participants in acts of killing.