A five-year-old girl and family plead with the Prime Minister of Canada: say 'no' to euthanasia

Media Release - Montreal - December 16, 2015. (Link to the Canada News wire release)

As Canada moves in the direction of legalizing euthanasia, and some provinces are discussing extending euthanasia to children, Sylvain, Sherley and five-year-old Jolyanne's message to the Prime Minister of Canada is simple. For the sake of families, please do not support euthanasia. Sylvain and Sherley believe euthanasia is dangerous. They are convinced that those who cannot fight will be persuaded to give up too quickly and, in some cases, euthanize their loved ones. As Sylvain says in this heart-touching video, if he had listened to the doctors' advice when everything looked so grim, he would now be alone without the two women he loves most in his life—his wife Sherley and his precious daughter Jolyanne.

Sylvain and Sherley are a Canadian couple living near Montreal who were faced with many of these pressures. They were discouraged from continuing the pregnancy of their future daughter, Jolyanne, at 27 weeks of pregnancy because they were told she would be a Down's baby (erroneous diagnosis) with a malformed esophagus (esophageal atresia). Despite the many medical challenges, Jolyanne thrives today and is the joy of Sylvain's and Sherley's life.

Only two years after Jolyanne was born, Sherley was in a coma and on life support because of pneumonia. Sylvain was told his wife's chances of survival were extremely poor. He was also told that if Sherley survived, she would have no quality of life. The doctors pressured him to disconnect his wife from life support. Despite the pressures, he fought back to save his wife's life.

Quebec passed a law on June 5, 2014 to permit euthanasia. In 2013, prior to the law being passed, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Commission recommended extending euthanasia to children. A recently released report from an Ontario advisory group is also recommending children be free to "choose" euthanasia.

In this controversy, physicians and patients have been speaking out against euthanasia for many reasons: 

  • Euthanasia is not medical care,
  • Euthanasia contradicts a physician's code of conduct, which does not permit a doctor to intentionally end a person's life even if that person requests it,
  • A person with a serious medical condition is often depressed and has clouded judgment,
  • There are financial and social pressures,
  • There are diagnostic errors,
  • There are errors in predicting outcomes of a medical condition,
  • Euthanasia criteria always expands. It begins with adults, then extends to children. At first only terminal illnesses are allowed, but later chronic ailments are accepted. Initially those suffering physically are selected, but the door opens wide to include the depressed.
  • Palliative care relieves pain and suffering without prematurely ending a person's life but is, unfortunately, not available to the majority of Canadians. Thus, there is no free choice.

Prime Minister Trudeau, you do have a choice. Euthanasia is currently being challenged in the courts of Quebec. It is still illegal in Canada. On behalf of five-year-old Jolyanne and her family and many others, please save Canadian lives by saying 'no' to euthanasia.

Source Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice.

For further information:
Dr Paul Saba, (514) 886-3447, pauljsaba@gmail.com